Watch Texas Power Grid Keep Up with the Texas Heat in Real Time
If you ask East Texans about the winter of 2021, you'll probably get a mean mug back. That winter brought the most snow and coldest temperatures any of us had seen in a very long time. To make matters worse, most of the state of Texas was without power for up to four days, or longer, because the grid that was supposed to keep everything on couldn't keep up with the massive demand. Since that time, the question has come up many times if that same grid would be able to keep up with any kind of extreme weather like the brutal heat we're dealing with now.
Texas Heat So Far
Summer officially started today (June 21) but we've been experiencing some August type heat for the last couple of weeks. Thing is, the actual temperature hasn't been that bad, we've been under a blanket of moisture that has caused the feel like temperatures to get to 105 degrees with some spots getting up to 110 or even 112 degrees. We get hot in East Texas but this type of heat just hits different and is exhausting. Severe weather that took down power lines in parts of East Texas hasn't helped either making the job of restoring power much harder for those line workers working around the clock to restore electricity.
I personally love the heat, but the last couple of weeks has been a bit extreme.
Because of that oppressive heat, the question has come up again of if the Texas power grid can keep up with the demand of those keeping cool in their homes. So far, there hasn't been an issue but ERCOT has asked Texans to conserve as much power as possible to not overload the system.
Here are Some Easy Steps to Help Conserve Power
- Set your thermostat two to three degrees higher between peak hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Use ceiling fans, turning counter-clockwise, to move cool air around.
- Wait until after sundown to wash clothes or use the dishwasher.
- Use blackout curtains.
- Change your air filter every month.
- Have your AC system inspected annually.
Even with some of those energy saving methods, the Texas power grid will still come under some strain. With that in mind, ERCOT, or Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has a dashboard available to look at online that gives real time stats of how the grid is performing. One of the most important stats is the energy supply versus the demand. I took this screenshot of the supply and demand for today, June 21, at 9:25 a.m.
The solid purple line is the energy supply while the turquoise line is the demand. So yes, at 9:25 a.m. today, June 21, the grid is handling everything very well. But if you look at the estimations for later this afternoon, it looks like we come close to exceeding that supply.
The dashboard has a wealth of other stats to go along with the power being generated to Texas. You can see it all at ercot.com/gridmktinfo/dashboards. In the meantime, hunker down in an ice bath or beside the pool and keep as cool as possible.