Texas can do better than barely averting rolling blackouts.

Hot summers are certainly not novel in Texas, but for the electric grid, the triple digits recently pushed capacity to new levels.

Texas’ power grid set record level power use for three consecutive days last week. The high demand topped off at 68,294 megawatts on Wednesday. The near-peak electricity use continued through the end of the week, with the grid operator ERCOT calling on demand response on Thursday despite slightly lower consumption. Wind contributed about 2,000 megawatts during some of the most crucial hours on Wednesday. ERCOT issued a level 2 alert for rolling blackouts, although they were ultimately avoided. The grid survived, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Like PJM Interconnection just a few weeks ago, ERCOT did not call on its demand response services on the record-setting day, but rather the following day when some generation units were offline. ERCOT used about 1,150 MW of responsive reserves on Thursday and another 440 MW of emergency interruptible load shed, according to Mark Patterson, manager of demand integration at ERCOT.

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