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Opinion: Texas goes it alone on electric power. That's actually a good thing

February 24, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 24.9%. 2 min read.

Suzanne Russo writes that Texas' power failure after last week's storms was mostly caused by failures in natural gas power plants, not frozen windmills or its inability to pull electricity from other states. In In fact, Texas' lack of interconnection has been a historic strength because it has allowed Texas to experiment with new market structures and build out new power generation and transmission capacity much faster than other parts of the country.

So alone among the lower 48 states, we have our own independent electric grid, covering about 75% of the state, managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a non-profit corporation that is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature, The rest of the contiguous United States' power grids are part of either the Western Interconnect grid or the Eastern Interconnect, putting them under control of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Texas grid independence is being called into question after ERCOT failed to meet unprecedented electricity demand and millions of Texans went without power for days in sub-freezing temperatures.

Texas' other neighboring grid, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator experienced the same condition of power demand due to surpassing the amount of available electricity, and it similarly implemented rolling blackouts this past week.

As such, Texas is able to build out new power generation and transmission capacity much faster than other parts of the country and experiment with new market structures, such as launching the nation's first deregulated energy market and creating the nation's first Renewable Energy Zone.

The ability for ERCOT and the Texas State Legislature to make independent decisions about our power supply, combined with the state's pioneering approach to funding and building out transmission lines that bring wind power from West and North Texas to the rest of the state, has sparked innovation and progress while keeping our electric rates affordable for most residents.

Finally, Texas should continue investing in the proactive transmission systems and renewable power generation, like wind and solar, that have produced major economic and environmental benefits for our state so far.

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