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Power consumption in Texas breaks records when temperatures rise

Power lines in the air are seen under record high temperatures in Houston, Texas, USA, February 17, 2021. REUTERS / Adrees Latif

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June 6 (Reuters) – Power demand in Texas is set to break the all-time record this week, testing the network’s resilience after generational problems this year and a days-long power outage during a deep freeze in 2021.

Extreme weather is increasingly straining the power grid across the United States, and regulators predict record heat and drought this summer could cause rotating power outages in several regions. read more

Texas is the state that is most monitored among power analysts given its unique setup and high demand. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, expects demand for electricity to rise to a record all-time high on Tuesday – above levels reached in August 2019.

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The state is the country’s largest energy producer and its largest consumer. The network is largely isolated from the rest of the United States to avoid certain federal regulations, which prevent it from pulling on other U.S. networks in an emergency. The state endured several days without electricity during the winter storm Uri in February 2021.

ERCOT said they have enough resources available to meet expected demand, but it has already had problems this year.

During a mini-heat wave in mid-May, ERCOT was forced to ask customers to save energy after several power plants were shut down unexpectedly, which led to short-term prices briefly rising to over $ 4000 per megawatt hour (MWh), compared to a average of $ 60 this year. read more

Although ERCOT has enough resources to keep the lights on this summer, the grid’s power lines may not be able to move all the energy from where it is generated to where it is consumed, which increases costs for consumers.

“Real-time transmission congestion increased by 46% in 2021, totaling $ 2.1 billion,” Potomac Economics, ERCOT’s independent market monitor, said in a May report. When that congestion occurs, it increases the prices for buyers who need to get power. More than $ 560 million of congestion costs were generated during the Winter Storm Uri.

AccuWeather warns that temperatures in Houston will remain in the 90s Fahrenheit all week, reaching 101 F (38.3 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, 10 F higher than normal.

ERCOT expects power consumption to reach 77,544 megawatts on Tuesday, topping the grid’s all-time high of 74,820 MW set in August 2019. read more

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ERCOT says that the addition of wind and solar energy facilities over the past year should increase available power resources to 91,392 MW. One megawatt can provide power to around 1,000 American homes on a typical day, but only around 200 on a hot summer day.

Power demand is rising as Texas was the third fastest-growing state by population in the past decade, according to US census data. ERCOT serves more than 26 million Texas customers, covering approximately 90% of the state’s electricity needs.

The state’s industrial sector accounts for 23% of the industrial sector’s energy consumption on a national basis, which is expected to grow due to drilling, refining and mining of cryptocurrencies, Greenberg said.

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and John Stonestreet

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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