Solar power is keeping the Texas grid from crashing—despite a sharp increase in energy demand due to record-breaking high temperatures, says an energy expert.
“Having an additional four to five gigawatts of solar on the system when we were within only two and a half gigawatts of being at outages. It’s not hard to do that math right?” said energy consultant Doug Lewin. “Solar really makes the difference there.”
Lewin told CBS Austin that what is now seen as unusually high heat is set to become the new normal. As global temperatures creep higher, “we are rolling the dice and increasing the probability of really extreme heat waves each and every year.”
Asked how the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) should move forward to accommodate future energy demand, Lewin emphasized the importance of efficiency.
“We should be helping Texans who want to put insulation in their roofs, who want to get a more efficient HVAC system and a smart thermostat, so they’re more in control of comfort inside their home and the cost of their bills,” he said.
Alongside a reliability crisis, Texans are also in an affordability crisis, he added, and solar—at zero energy fuel cost—helps to keep prices down.