AUSTIN (KXAN) — As temperatures continue to warm during this spring season it won’t be too much longer before Central Texas begins its annual string of 90°+ days that eventually become days when the afternoon highs reach 100° and higher.

It’s during this time when concerns begin to surface by many regarding “the grid”. On Wednesday, May 3, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Public Utility Commission of Texas held a press conference updating Texans on the status of the grid ahead of the approaching summer.

Their reports were based on information from ERCOT’s Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) and the Capacity, Demand, and Reserves (CDR) reports. They offer a broader insight into how prepared the grid is.

Part of the Texas grid Courtesy: Getty Images

PUC Chairman Peter Lake says a number of scenario analysis was done that included both best-case and worst-case scenarios. The SARA finding indicated the ERCOT grid is ready for this summer, that the grid is as strong as possible using every tool available.

Reliability reforms that were put into place in the last legislative session have been tested and continue to work.

But he also said that the Texas grid faces a new reality. Data shows, for the first time, that the peak electricity demand will exceed the amount generated from on-demand dispatchable power supply to keep the lights on. Thus, there will be greater reliability going forward on renewable energy.

Texas will see an increase in wind capacity to help keep the lights on Courtesy: Getty Images

The numbers tell the story. Between 2008 and 2022 the population of Texas grew by a staggering 24% while on-demand dispatch power supply grew by 1.5%. This increase in population, along with the number of new businesses in a rapidly growing economy mean peak demand could be 6,000 megawatts greater than the summer of 2022. Keep in mind that just one megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts, or 1,000,000 watts. This is enough electricity to keep the lights on in 750 homes at once.

Webberville, Texas solar farm provides renewable energy for the state Courtesy: Getty Images

This growth has made it necessary to increase wind capacity by 1,000 megawatts and solar capacity by 3,400 megawatts. They are also expecting 500 megawatts from battery energy storage for the tightest hours.

There was another warning issue for consumers. When we think of when peak demand will be we usually consider the late-afternoon hours, 4 to 5 p.m. But now that peak demand could last into the evening hours, say 8 to 9 p.m. with the loss of solar power (sunset) and potential decrease in wind velocity.

As they do prior to the winter season they will be performing weatherization tests for the summer, too. This allows power plants ad generators to provide service during hot and cold weather emergencies. ERCOT will operate the grid conservatively

As they do so they will also commit to providing information to consumers on grid conditions through the season.