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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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Texas Power Grid Faces Record Demand Amid Heatwave

Business, State

Road in hot weather | Image by Static

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As temperatures rose above 100 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the Southwest this weekend, the ERCOT power grid faced the highest demand for electricity to date.

Electricity demand rose to over 75 megawatts on Sunday around 5:15 p.m., breaking the previous record of 74.8 megawatts in 2019. For context, one megawatt of electricity can power 400–1,000 U.S. households for an entire year.

Such strain on the power grid is unusual, the Tribune reports. For starters, weekend power consumption is often lower as offices and businesses are closed. Secondly, Texas temperatures in June are historically lower than in July and August.

However, ERCOT said the grid had almost 90 megawatts of capacity, and no customers reported power losses. ERCOT has not issued any new conservation guidelines.

As for this week, the forecast shows much of the same heat for Texans. Currently, 246 of Texas’ 254 counties are under an excessive heat warning by the National Weather Service. In Dallas, temperatures will decrease Tuesday and Wednesday slightly but are expected to rise above 100°F again the nine days following.

In May, ERCOT asked residents to help conserve power by following a few new guidelines. Residents should set thermostats to no lower than 78°F and avoid using large appliances between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Other general tips include turning off unneeded lights and cooling down with fans and drapes whenever possible.

Elderly or at-risk people can easily experience heat stroke and heat-related illness when temperatures pass 100°F. In Dallas, many libraries and civic centers are being used as cooling stations; a complete list of participating locations is available here    

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Scott Snadow
Scott Snadow
4 days ago

Proofreading is a lost art.
Gigawatts, not megawatts…

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