Texas produces a lot of energy: oil, natural gas, wind, solar, and electricity. Texas also uses a lot of energy.
The events of February 2021 and the summer of 2023 increase the power generation capacity in Texas to the max.
Although Texas leads the nation in net electricity generation with 50,622 thousand megawatt hours, according to the Energy Information Administration, the state experiences periods of high demand as the population and economy expand.
Now, the entire country is watching how Texas responds to these challenges.
“We’re the test case for the country. (The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is looking at us, (the Department of Energy) is looking at us, everybody’s looking to Texas to handle this,” said Will McAdams, a member of the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Board of Directors met on Tuesday and ERCOT Chief Executive Officer Pablo Vegas said that this summer electricity demand exceeded the previous daily record (80,000 megawatts) 49 times, and the immediate challenge is to prepare for the coming winter.
Natural gas, which currently produces 47%, continues to show strength as production will set new records this year.
Solar has increased dramatically from 4 megawatts in 2020 to about 12,000 megawatts this year, but solar power peaks during the afternoon and drops sharply at night.
Wind is also a part of the electric generating mix providing 26%, but it has periods where the wind does not blow.
Coal is down to 9% and nuclear accounts for 3%. Both coal and nuclear are considered reliable 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
The Texas Legislature recognized the need to further expand the supply and passed a measure this year designed to encourage the construction and operation of electric generating plants in the future.
This plan must be approved by voters and is outlined in Proposition 7, which is on Nov. 7.
If Proposition 7 passes, the state would create the Texas Energy Fund as a special fund in the state treasury outside of the general revenue fund. Fund money may be administered and used, without additional appropriation, solely by the PUC to provide loans and grants to finance the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities necessary to ensure the reliability of an electric power grid in Texas.