Energy Secretary calls for changes to Texas grid

March 4, 2021, 11:58AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Granholm

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday during the CERAWeek energy conference commented that Texas should look beyond its borders to join other grids following last month's winter storm that left millions without power, according to an article from The Hill.

“It would be great for Texas to consider connecting ... to its neighbors,” she said. “I understand the go-it-alone sort of ethos, but there’s also an ethos of helping your neighbor too and I think connecting could benefit Texas in times of emergency, but it could also benefit Texas and the rest of the country in good times when Texas is generating all sorts of clean energy."

U.S. grid: The United States has three grids in the Lower 48: the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection, and Texas.

The Texas grid is called ERCOT and is run by an agency of the same name—the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT does not cover all of Texas, according to Chron.com, a website of the Houston Chronicle. El Paso is on another grid, as are the upper panhandle and a portion of east Texas.

ERCOT's independence likely has to do with the history of various utilities' service territories and the remoteness of the non-ERCOT locations (for example the panhandle is closer to Kansas than to Dallas), explained Chron.com.

Weather-ready: During the CERAWeek conference, Granholm also called for Texas to weatherize its grid. “There will be events like this that occur with greater frequency and we have to think about the resilience of the grid,” she said.

She added, “I hope that the legislature in Texas provides the ability for the grid to actually be prepared to sustain the kinds of storms that we saw because that will not just be a one-off.”


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