They say everything is bigger in Texas, this weekend you can add power usage to that list with Southeast Texas is locked into a strong high-pressure system. Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), the grid operator for the state said that electricity prices for the power grid rose to over $2,500 a megawatt-hour for Sunday evening. This is a gain of 800% from Saturday’s high of around $275 and will strain the grid. Ercot said that power usage on Sunday at about 4 p.m. at what is expected to peak at would be an all-time high, almost 84.4 gigawatts. In Houston Sunday high temperatures are expected to be around 102-103 degrees.
“Ercot will continue to monitor conditions closely.”
Things get tighter when solar generation starts to drop off at sunset. The surplus of available power capacity on Texas’s power grid versus power consumption will fall to 1.6 gigawatts in the hour ending at 6 p.m. Sunday. With that in mind Ercot issued a weather watch for Sunday and Monday “due to forecast higher temperatures, higher demand, and potential lower reserves,” the grid operator said in an emailed statement Saturday afternoon.
Electricity providers have been warning users to conserve energy to avoid the need for emergency responses. In such a case Ercot has additional reserves to meet demand.
Texas’s population Growth
The issue for power isn’t so much the temperatures it is the growing population of the state and the power grid not keeping up with that and the added demand. It seems with each new economic crisis in the U.S. more people move to Texas looking for work.
The US census said that from 2000 to 2022, the population of 11 of Texas’s 254 counties more than doubled, according to July 1, 2022 population estimates. About half of Texas’s population gain since 2000 resulted from natural increase (more births than deaths); around 29% from net domestic migration gains; and 22% from net international migration gains.
Record Temperatures Safe for Now
Most of Texas is under a heat advisory with much of the state under an excessive heat warning, according to the National Weather Service. Dallas may see temperatures rise to 107F (42C) on Sunday afternoon with a heat index of 111 for the second consecutive day. Not to undersell the heat and its danger in southeast Texas, but time for some perspective, the all-time temperature records are from a while back.
Houston has had the 9th most 100-degree days in a year all-time this year as we kick off August yet.
The hottest temperature ever in Houston is 109 degrees, which has happened twice at the city’s official weather observation station at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The first time was on Sept. 4, 2000, and that record was tied on Aug. 27, 2011. The record at Houston Hobby Airport is 108 degrees, which also happened on Sept. 4, 2000.
For Texas the hottest temperature ever recorded is 120 degrees, and it happened twice, on the drier Western side of the state. The first time was Aug. 12, 1936, in Seymour, and that record was tied on June 28, 1994 in Monahans. Drier air can warm up much quicker than humid air.
From the TradersCommunity Energy Research Desk