Rolling Blackouts Could Hit Texas This Summer Amid Heatwave, Experts Warn

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Experts are warning that the state of Texas is under threat of rolling blackouts this summer amid a heatwave and record-high demand for power.

Energy analyst Ed Hirs, a University of Houston energy fellow wrote a recent op-ed for The Austin American-Statesman in which he highlighted the gap between power generation and demand across the state.

Hirs noted that six power plants had gone offline in Texas during a mini heatwave in mid-May, prompting calls for Texans to be more conservative with their energy. He also noted that newer traditional power plants simply aren’t being built.

The expert also pointed to a growing Texas population and economy that is outpacing generation capacity from traditional electricity sources, writing, “This summer, Texas natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric plants will provide less electricity than they did in 2010 even though the Texas economy has grown from $1.25 trillion in 2010 to $2 trillion in 2021.”

“Meanwhile, we’re stuck with a broken grid in Texas—and a hefty bill for bailing out the energy industry that failed us,” Hirs wrote.

“I think we’re going to need a lot of luck to get through the summer without rolling blackouts,” Hirs told FOX 7 Austin on Tuesday.

Hirs’s comments come after power grid operators from across the United States said in May that they are buckling under the demand for electricity as they transition to cleaner energy sources, while warning that some parts of the country could see blackouts during the summer.

California state’s grid operator told The Wall Street Journal that it expects to see a shortfall in supplies this summer, owing to multiple factors like extreme heat, wildfires, and delays in bringing new power sources online.

“I am concerned about it,” Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Chief Executive John Bear told WSJ.

Elsewhere in April, MISO, an independent, not-for-profit organization that delivers power to much of the Midwest, projected that it would likely need increased imports and potentially emergency resources if it were to be able to meet the 2022 summer peak demand.

Aging power grids combined with a flurry of severe weather events have already led to multiple power outages across parts of the country in recent years, including Texas, which is the nation’s largest energy producer and its biggest consumer.

However, other experts have dismissed concerns about potential blackouts in the state this summer.

“I can absolutely guarantee the lights are going to stay on in Texas because of the landmark legislation the Texas Legislature passed in 2021,” Peter Lake of the Texas Public Utility Commission told Fox Business, referring to two bills signed into law last year by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott aimed at bolstering reliability of the state’s power grid following winter storms that left thousands without power.

Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, expects power demand to surge to record-highs this year but insists it has enough resources to meet demand, thanks in part to the addition of wind and solar plants over the past year.

“Am I concerned about blackouts this week? No, not really,” Beth Garza, the former ERCOT IMM chief, told Fox Business. “What will become problematic is as we have this long slog day after day of 100-degree temperatures, that will increase the risk.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.



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