AUSTIN (KXAN) — As record heat continues across central Texas, more people turn to their AC to cool down, but how is that affecting the Texas energy grid?
“We hit a new record this summer hitting over 75 gigawatts just a few days ago,” said Luke Metzger with Environment Texas. “These extreme heat temperatures can put a strain on the grid and test its ability to meet all the demands we have right now.”
That’s why energy companies will ask you to set your AC to 78 degrees and to not use appliances during peak hours.
Conserving energy can help prevent blackouts, but with a summer heat wave that can be a hard ask.
Metzger says renewable energy is helping make sure we don’t see any blackouts.
“Wind and solar are playing a critical role in keeping the lights on and the AC running,” Metzger said. “Without wind and solar we would definitely be having blackouts. Today it is expected that wind and solar will provide 30 percent of our peak demand of energy and some days it is as high as 40 or 50 percent.”
Are there any concerns with renewable energy?
“The biggest concern you hear is around it’s intermittency,” said Metzger. “It is true that the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow and that is why we need a balanced mix of clean energy sources.”
With more people moving to Texas and temperatures continuing to get hotter, changes will have to take place, says Metzger.
“We know that is only going to get worse unless we take action to weatherize our homes, get better insulation and use more efficient appliances,” Metzger said.