You Can Watch the 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.
As of July 11, 2022, Tyler has seen 18 days at or above 100 degrees, Longview has seen 14 and Lufkin has seen 11. We get hot in East Texas but not this type of heat for as long as we've had it so far this summer. A cold front is expected to move through on Wednesday (July 13) that should "cool" us down into the mid 90's and bring a small chance of rain which will be welcome in any amount.
I personally love the heat but even for me, this summer has been a bit extreme so far.
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 that doesn't mean we can't take a step or two to relieve some of that demand.
- 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, July 12, at 11:25 a.m.
The solid purple line is the energy supply while the turquoise line is the demand. So yes, at 11:25 a.m. today, July 12, the grid is handling everything very well.
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.