With Texans facing more days with triple-digit temperatures, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced that the state’s power grid broke both the peak weekend and all-time energy demand record.

On Sunday, August 20, the grid surpassed 85,116 megawatts, setting a new record for energy demand on the weekend.

Earlier this month, the power grid broke the all-time peak energy demand record for the tenth time this summer. On August 10, the grid required 85,435 MW, a noticeable increase from the previous record of 83,961 MW set on August 9.

Before this summer, the peak demand record was 80,148 MW, set on July 20, 2022.

Since July 2022, the Texas power grid’s summer energy need has climbed by more than 5,000 MW.

After breaking the energy demand record this month, ERCOT issued two “voluntary conservation notices” on August 17 and August 20, asking Texans to monitor their electricity usage and use less power if safe to do so.

ERCOT also announced a Weather Watch and warned Texans that higher temperatures could lead to higher demand on the power grid—leaving some concerned about the grid’s continued stability.

Bill Peacock, policy director for the Energy Alliance, called out the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which oversees ERCOT.

“While calls for conservation are nothing new, their frequency this year points to the failure of PUC’s increasingly desperate measures to take control of Texas’ electricity market,” Peacock told Texas Scorecard.

Historic Failings

Unreliable energy sources and ERCOT’s dependability came under fire in February 2021 after a winter storm blasted Texas.

As temperatures dipped below zero, ERCOT implemented rolling blackouts when the power grid struggled to keep up with the high-energy demand. For days, millions of Texans suffered through extreme weather conditions without electricity.

ERCOT pointed towards unreliable energy sources, claiming more than half of the state’s wind turbines froze during the storm and failed to supply enough power.

Following the winter storm, Gov. Greg Abbott implored lawmakers to investigate and reform ERCOT, which led to the resignation of four board members and the firing of CEO Bill Magness.

However, ERCOT continued failing to produce enough energy for the state, with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation warning that Texas was at risk for a summer energy emergency last year.

Last summer, the organization issued a “conservation appeal” to citizens and businesses across the state. In the appeal, ERCOT urged Texans to raise their thermostat temperature and refrain from using large appliances. They also warned that low wind speeds and increased cloud coverage could severely limit energy collected from unreliable resources like wind turbines and solar panels.

Looking Ahead

Although ERCOT said there is “currently enough capacity to meet forecasted demand,” the grid’s past failings have left some wondering about Texas’ ability to supply electricity.

Earlier this year, ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said the organization would prioritize keeping energy flowing to Texans.

“ERCOT continues to monitor conditions closely and will deploy all available tools to manage the grid and will continue our reliability-first approach to operations, always prioritizing grid reliability,” said Vegas.

However, Texas is under an ERCOT Weather Watch, and the organization has encouraged Texans to monitor grid conditions until August 27.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.