Texans take note — council warns of summer energy shortfalls
The North American Electric Reliability Council issued a statement in its 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment earlier this month warning that energy shortages could be coming this summer for two-thirds of North America if temperatures spike higher than normal.
“Increased, rapid deployment of wind, solar and batteries have made a positive impact,” Mark Olson, NERC’s manager of reliability assessments, says in a news release. “However, generator retirements continue to increase the risks associated with extreme summer temperatures, which factors into potential supply shortages in the western two-thirds of North America if summer temperatures spike.”
For Texans, the combined risk of drought and higher than normal temperatures could stress ERCOT system resources, especially in a case of reduced wind. But before there’s a mad rush on generators, keep in mind, electricity consumers can take simple actions to minimize the possibility of widespread shortfalls.
Electricity demand begins rising daily around 2 pm in the summer and peaks in the final hours of daylight. These hours are generally not only the warmest hours of the day, but also the busiest. People return from work to their homes, crank down the air conditioner, turn on TVs, run a load of wash, and prepare meals using multiple electric-powered appliances.
In light of NERC's findings, Americans are recommended to take s one or two small steps to avoid unnecessary stress on the grid in the hours after coming home from work, we can prevent energy shortfalls. Modify routines now to get into the habit of running the dishwasher overnight, using the washer and dryer before noon or after 8 pm and pulling the shades down in the bright afternoon hours of the day. Delaying powering up devices – including EVs – until after dark and turning off and unplug items to avoid sapping electricity when items are not in use is also recommended, in addition to turning up thermostats a couple of degrees.