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Have Texas’ Power Problems Been Fixed?

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Despite Gov. Greg Abbott signing legislation in response to the February blackouts, concerns have emerged about Texas’ power grid this summer. Texas Scorecard spoke with three of the state’s energy experts about the possibility of future blackouts, what the Texas Legislature should have done during the regular session, what they actually did, and what, if anything, Abbott should have them do in a special session.

Blackouts

Last week, Abbott signed legislation created in response to deadly blackouts during February’s severe winter weather. “Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas,” Abbot stated.

This week, as Texas summer temperatures began arriving, ERCOT—the Electric Reliability Council of Texas that manages Texas’ power grid—announced power outages due to mechanical failures.

Texas Scorecard interviewed former State Rep. Jason Isaac and Brent Bennett of Life:Powered, and Bill Peacock, policy director at the Energy Alliance about Texas’ electricity issues. Both firms study Texas’ electrical grid and political policies that affect it and consumers. Bennett had pointed out ERCOT, before this, claimed there was a less than one percent chance of rolling outages this summer. After ERCOT’s alert, we asked about the possibility of blackouts this year.

“Our reliance on renewables has put us in a situation where relatively minor fluctuations in the weather or mechanical problems can put us at risk,” Peacock said. “We are at a higher risk of blackouts than we’ve ever been. But we don’t know what will happen until it does.”

“My opinion is that we’ll continue to have Conservation Alerts and will likely see rolling outages in August,” Isaac replied. “I’m seeing a trend that ERCOT is continuing to blame ‘planned outages’ rather than admitting we have a lack of reliable thermal generation because we’ve put too much emphasis on unreliable variable sources.”

Isaac

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