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An electrical grid operator has predicted a Texas electricity shortage this summer. In fact, utilities are forecasting record-high demand for electricity as the warmest months of the year draw closer.
Specifically, the record for statewide electricity usage in Texas is 73,473 megawatts, Reuters reports. A megawatt consists of one million watts of electricity and it can power as many as 1,000 homes under normal circumstances. Notwithstanding, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates that Texans will use 74,853 megawatts of electricity this summer. ERCOT currently operates the electrical grid in the Lone Star State.
Texas Electricity Shortage Forecast For This Summer
Texas’s electricity supply is already at a historic low, ERCOT estimates. In particular, the reserve electricity which ERCOT uses during peak demands is historically low.
ERCOT blames the electricity shortage on a drop in the number of power plants available along with rising demand. For example, oil and gas drillers are using more electricity than in the past. Additionally, electricity prices paid to suppliers are dropping, thereby causing power plants to cut production.
Nonetheless, Texas’s population is still growing and this creates more demand for air conditioning on hot summer days. So, all it will take is simply one heatwave to cause a Texas electricity shortage this summer.
Moreover, lower electricity prices make it harder for power plants to make money. Coal-fired power plants, in particular, are having a difficult time in today’s market.
A Texas Electricity Shortage Could Lead To An Emergency This Summer
ERCOT officials are so worried about Texas’s electricity supply that they plan to call emergency alerts this summer.
To elaborate further, an emergency alert gives ERCOT the authority to shift electricity around in the grid to prevent blackouts. Nevertheless, electricity levels could be so low that ERCOT will not be able to keep the lights on.
As a result, Texans will certainly need emergency backup power sources if they want to keep their air conditioning running this summer.
Big Business Is Cashing In On Electricity Shortages
Notably, big business is now cashing in on the potential for electricity shortages. In fact, Mitsubishi plans to sell a system that lets you power your house with electricity from an electric car.
The Dendo Drive House system features solar panels and a bidirectional charger. In detail, a bidirectional charger is a device that allows electricity to flow from your home to an electric car or vice versa.
Consequently, you could power your home from an electric vehicle or even a hybrid. In addition, the Dendo Drive House can charge an electric car from a house. However, you cannot make any trips with the vehicle when you use it to power your house.
Furthermore, you will need to drive to a charging station like a Tesla Supercharger to charge your electric vehicle batteries. Even the charging stations, though, will shut down during blackouts or emergencies. Ultimately, you will need to generate your own electricity if you want to drive an electric vehicle during emergencies.
Vehicles Could Power Homes In A Future Texas Electricity Shortage
Mitsubishi is not the only company offering car and home power systems. For example, The Verge reports a British company called OVO is offering a similar system without a battery backup.
Additionally, Tesla offers the Powerwall home battery system which integrates with the company’s solar panels. Even so, you cannot feed electricity into the Powerwall from current Tesla vehicles, The Verge states.
On the other hand, Elon Musk says that future Tesla vehicles could power your home. To illustrate, you could power electric devices in your home from a Tesla vehicle battery. Yet, you will need another means of making electricity, such as solar panels, to generate power for the vehicle itself.
The potential Texas electricity shortage and the growing popularity of off-grid electricity solutions demonstrate that the electric grid is no longer reliable. For this reason, those of us who want to live and work in the 21st Century will need a backup power system in our homes.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Living On Solar: Is Ditching The Grid Realistic?
Or download our free 28-page report on the top 9 threats to the power grid: Black Out
What are your thoughts on the Texas electricity shortage? Is the power grid in the United States vulnerable elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below.