With a Cooler-than-Normal August, Texas Grid Catches a Break

A cooler-than-normal August allowed a power-hungry state to avoid electricity strains this summer.

Graph by EIA

A cooler-than-normal August allowed a power-hungry state to avoid electricity strains this summer.

Congratulations! You’ve survived another summer, and Texas has made it to September without any serious strains on its electric grid. That’s thanks in part to last month’s cooler than normal weather, according to a new federal analysis.

From the Energy Information Administration (EIA):

“August is typically the peak demand month for electricity in Texas, and sustained high temperatures can lead to stress on the electric grid. Although August saw temperatures rise above 105 degrees, the prolonged heat that can stress the grid beyond its capabilities did not materialize.

During the summer when temperatures are high, demand for electricity to cool homes and businesses increases. Although electric systems are designed to meet peak demand, consecutive high-demand days can strain power plants and transmission facilities and lead to unplanned outages. Very high wholesale electricity prices are often indications of this type of system stress.”

One consequence of less demand? Lower wholesale prices on the Texas energy market, according to the report. That can mean less incentives for power generators to build new plants in the deregulated Texas market, which has led to a debate on what the state should do to better secure its supply of power.

Further Reading: Texans Use Less Power than Expected, Baffling State Regulators

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