The US Energy Department has issued an emergency order aimed at keeping the lights on in Texas as the state’s power grid grapples with surging demand amid record-high temperatures.
The order, issued Thursday night, could allow Texas power plants to surpass pollution limits through Friday night to meet “abnormally high” demand for electricity.
Jennifer Granholm, US secretary of energy, determined in the order that “an emergency exists in Texas due to a shortage of electric energy, a shortage of facilities for the generation of electric energy and other causes.”
As the heat wave continues to shatter records across the country, including in Texas, energy demand for things like air conditioning have frequently taxed the state’s delicate power grid with wind and solar energy helping to prop it up.
Dallas hit 107 degrees on Thursday, breaking the prior record of 104 set in 2012. That marked the fifth consecutive day of triple-digit temperatures.
San Antonio has hit or exceeded 100 degrees every day so far this month. The city has experienced 17 days above 105 degrees this year, blowing past the prior record of three set in 2011.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the electric grid serving 90% of the state’s customers, filed a request for the emergency order Wednesday.
ERCOT warned that power outages could become necessary if demand isn’t lowered or additional supply can’t be added.
Although rolling blackouts have been avoided so far, ERCOT asked Texans to conserve electricity on Thursday due to “tight grid conditions.”
As of Friday morning, ERCOT’s website indicated there is “enough power for current demand,” but supply and demand is expected to get tight again later in the day.
Source : CNN