Investment in new energy technology will prepare us for future Februarys

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One year later, Texans are wondering what has actually changed since Winter Storm Uri of 2021. Many asking whether or not “we fixed the grid.” In 2021, the power outages in Texas were caused by a grid-wide mismatch of supply and demand – we simply did not have enough power […]

One year later, Texans are wondering what has actually changed since Winter Storm Uri of 2021. Many asking whether or not “we fixed the grid.”

In 2021, the power outages in Texas were caused by a grid-wide mismatch of supply and demand – we simply did not have enough power being provided from generators to supply Texans with the electricity that they wanted and needed to use. Not only did we see that mismatch when the storm hit, but it was made worse by the fact that we had not predicted anything close to that. Traditional resources on the grid could not respond to the rapidly changing condition. Texas did last year and still does today face constant changes that make supply and demand of electricity difficult to predict: an increasing percentage of energy supply from renewable resources; an ever-growing demand for electricity, from new residents and new businesses; and changing weather patterns, with more frequent extreme weather events. With the conditions constantly changing, were we able to update our response to crisis since last February?

First, the Texas Legislature did implement increased weatherization requirements, which enable generators to supply electricity in colder temperatures. Second, ERCOT began to operate more “conservatively,” calling special reserves from both generation and load earlier, so a higher level of backup power is ready to go. Battery energy storage systems on the grid can provide special services that can be called as reserves to push more supply onto the grid or to help balance and stabilize the grid. According to ERCOT’s Final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for each Winter, there were about 1200MW (one megawatt can power 200 homes) of batteries operational on the grid this winter, an increase of almost 1000MW from the last February.

There is much more new technology on the grid now than there was even just a year ago. There amount of wind and solar resources in operations is continuing to increase. There is an increasing desire for energy sources at the customer demand level like electric vehicles, solar panels, and smart appliances. There are bitcoin mines and technology companies moving to Texas. All of these valuable resources are new and require investment in infrastructure to be smoothly integrated into our old grid. Texas has always had a non-discriminatory approach to adding resources on the Texas grid – put simply, each technology should be allowed to provide the services that match the best of their unique ability. Texas is home to a number of energy projects aimed at increasing the diversity of our energy resources and implementing new technologies that support a more resilient grid.

Battery Energy Storage Systems are one of the new technologies that can be hugely transformational for a reliable and resilient grid. Jupiter Power is a battery company based here in Texas with storage assets that came online last summer, and which has 600MW-hours expected to be operational before this summer, which is another period of expected high demand for electricity. 


Energy companies, producers and generators still have a long way to go to adapt the grid to a changing supply and demand landscape — and it will not be possible for us to walk this road alone. For Texans, especially those experiencing the hardships of winter storms, energy has become more of a personal issue.

Consumers are wanting affordable, reliability and sustainable solutions. Primacy of consumer choices is at the heart of Texas’ competitive energy market and demand continues to reflect increasing consumer preference for clean energy and new technology. Public policy must support local and statewide efforts to transform the Texas power grid to improve reliability, sustainability, and affordability for our homes and businesses, and to exploit the advances in technology which can make this transformation happen sooner rather than later.

So, the answer to the question, “Did we fix the grid?” may not be as simple as a yes or a no. We have made great strides, both in the public and private sectors, to reinforce our grid. Leadership at ERCOT and at the Public Utility Commission have worked quickly and effectively and successes realized during Winter Storm Landon should encourage state leaders to continue to work together. We need those in leadership to continue to improve our transmission infrastructure and encourage the development and usage of new technologies. Texas is renowned for its energy portfolio and both government and private industry must work together to ensure we maintain a grid that functions reliably and resiliently for all.

Caitlin Smith is the senior director for Regulatory, External Affairs & ESG at Jupiter Power

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