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Texas Grid Will Face Unprecedented Demand By 2030, Is ERCOT Ready?

The Texas power grid will face unprecedented demand for electricity by 2030, thanks to a growing number of industrial energy users in the state. This could strain the grid, according to ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects peak power demand to increase to 152 gigawatts, a nearly 78% increase in just six years. Over the past two decades, electricity demand has grown by about 1% per year.

To address this, ERCOT is undergoing a strategic shift, moving into a new era of planning to meet the diverse power needs of Texans, including those in the oil and gas sector.

At an ERCOT board meeting, Vegas highlighted the unprecedented surge in demand, driven by factors like industrial electrification, the burgeoning AI and data center sectors, and the emergence of the hydrogen economy. This rapid growth, combined with Texas’ population boom and climatic challenges, necessitates a swift adaptation by ERCOT to ensure reliable power supply.

“Given that reality, we are the best market in the country to react to that kind of growth. We have the ability in ERCOT to connect dispatchable resources faster than any place else in the country. Batteries, I believe, are going to respond and start to fill in a lot of that,” Vegas said.

Vegas said ERCOT has a vast amount of solar power and battery storage planned for the grid, but acknowledged that the biggest difficulty will be the power transmission lines, as they take years to be ready.

“We need to accelerate aspects of our planning processes and be able to look further into the future, anticipate what’s coming, because it still takes three to six years to build transmission,” Vegas said.

Last month, ERCOT acknowledged that the grid is at risk of “cascading failures” because of a lack of efficient transmission lines in the San Antonio area.

Written by RA News staff.


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