Experts sound alarm as record heat strains Texas power grid

By Reena Diamante and Eden Harris


Spectrum News NY1 , September 14, 2022


Record heat in Texas this summer strained but didn’t break the beleaguered power grid, but experts still question its reliability.

One way to improve its performance is by reducing demand. That’s the message the Biden administration has been pushing and through action is now responding to by incentivizing Texans to consider greener energy solutions at home.

What You Need To Know

    • Record heat in Texas strained the power grid, alarming experts about its reliability
    • The Biden administration is now incentivizing Texans to consider greener energy solutions at home
    • Democrats’ sweeping climate and tax plan signed into law will trigger a new wave of interest in solar energy systems due to its benefits
  • Under the new climate law, these perks will be available beginning next year for up to 10 years

After a deadly winter storm last year caused the Texas power grid to fail and scorching heat this summer forced energy conservation measures, more and more Texans are going solar to reduce energy costs and ensure they have backup power.

“People were concerned that they were not going to have power every year. I think after the winter storm, it was something that kind of jarred a lot of people,” Madison Cribbs, a senior energy consultant at ATX Solar, told Spectrum News. Cribbs lost power herself during the winter storm.

The Austin-based company ATX Solar says President Joe Biden’s signing of the Democrats’ sweeping climate and tax plan into law triggered a new wave of interest in solar energy systems.

“It’s definitely increased. We’ve gotten quite a few more phone calls and emails, requests for meetings, just to kind of go over a solar proposal and see what it would look like. Because quite a few people are interested in the larger tax credit. A lot of people have actually mentioned it. Even when we go to them, typically, they’ll bring it up,”Cribbs added.

The new law provides rebates to cover 50% to 100% of the cost of purchasing energy-efficient appliances and a tax credit program covering 30% of the cost of installing solar panels and battery storage systems.

White House officials project because of this more than a million additional Texas households will install rooftop panels.

“This money is just going to go into making it easier for households here in Texas to get more efficiency sooner. This is important, not only in the context of individual consumer savings, but also for the grid as a whole,” Ignacio Guajardo, executive director of the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance said. “Achieving reduced demand through low-cost energy efficiency is a strategy that can go a long way here in Texas.”

The law also provides a tax credit for buying new electric cars and experts say that Texas is working to improve power supply and is improving energy efficiency. Lowering demand is critical to ensuring grid resilience.

“Going back to that equality of supply and demand, so as we are increasing the energy efficiency at homes that would mean that individuals are consuming less energy at the home level, and the collective impact of that would be considerable at the grid level,” Javad Mohammadi, assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering told, told Spectrum News.

Mohammadi added it is especially significant given the increase in extreme weather patterns.

“We are constantly facing these weather patterns that are hard to predict. With these unforeseen patterns, we need to make sure that you’re managing the demand side and supply side better. Energy efficiency measures like some of which we have in the Inflation Reduction Act would help with containing that increasing demand,” he said.

In July, the Biden administration, in partnership with the national integrated heat health information system, launched to provide public guidance to decision makers amid extreme heat challenges.

“President Biden has directed us to respond to the extreme heat gripping the nation. Extreme heat is a silent killer, yet it affects more Americans than any other weather emergency — particularly our nation’s most vulnerable,” said Gina McCarthy, White House national climate adviser.

These benefits under the new climate law will be available beginning next year for up to 10 years.


Originally Posted on Spectrum News NY1



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