The heat is on. It’s summer in the South Central U.S., the time of year when most of us lose the sport coats and reach for the sunscreen, while utility regulators, power plant operators and large commercial users across the region hope and pray that electricity generation capacity can keep up with epic spikes in demand. In Texas, power generation and distribution systems are stretched particularly thin this year, creating an urgent need for creative solutions to curb the peak summer demand loads that keep Texas’ economy hot and its people cool.
A new report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) indicates that most of the U.S. and Canada should be in good shape this summer – except for Texas, where a growing population and higher temperatures are causing growing energy demand to rapidly outpace new supply.
With Texas being home to 4 of the United States’ fastest growing metro areas – Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio – utilities and governments across the state are learning to incentivize energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in buildings. While Texas’ utility-scale wind industry is a national leader, there is simply no substitute for tight building envelopes, super insulation and on-site renewable energy systems like geothermal and solar for those times when the wind isn’t blowing across West Texas.
If your power goes out this summer, impress your friends with your knowledge of North America’s antiquated power grid. View the full NERC 2013 Summer Reliability Assessment.