The new regulations could have a big impact on the reliability of your electricity supply in Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott and other politicians who backed Senate Bill 3 believe it will reduce the risk of blackouts during future storms.
Even if you don’t live in Texas, the PUC’s decision on what it considers “extreme” weather could impact you. Experts say that electricity grids across the country are in need of upgrades. Several regions of concern include California, the Pacific Northwest, and New Orleans. California has experienced unprecedented heat waves in recent summers, resulting in energy blackouts. New Orleans and other low-lying areas face increased threats from rainfall and storms, as shown by hurricane Ida.
“The bottom line is that we are seeing more stress on the grid, whether it’s from stronger hurricanes, more rainfall, or more extended heat waves… especially on older aspects of the grid that are operating beyond the assumptions that they were built with,” explains Jeff Schlegelmilch, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.
Regulators in other parts of the country may take note of the Texas grid as an example. As energy consultant Alison Silverstein explained, “We planned this grid for‚ ‘Ozzy and Harriet’ weather and we are now facing ‘Mad Max’. Everybody has always designed these systems looking in the rear-view mirror.”
Jordan Smith is a writer and researcher with expertise in renewable energy and deregulated energy markets. Jordan has written extensively on the deregulated energy market in Texas and the challenges confronted in the clean energy transition, and conducted research projects within the energy industry. Further articles by Jordan can be found at SaveOnEnergy.com.