Over the course of the past few weeks, a severe and devastating winter storm has thrown Texas into an energy crisis. Many families are left without power, heat, and necessities to carry out their daily lives. As the Biden administration aims to pioneer a future that is reliant on sustainable energy, it brings about the equal necessity to prepare for extreme weather, which renewable energy is exceptionally susceptible to.
According to ground research by CNN, “the center of a wave of outages across the Southern and central parts of the U.S. the primary electric grid suffered a one-two punch wrought by the deep freeze: off-the-charts demand for power as Texans tried to heat their homes and power plants that simply failed to produce power when people needed it the most.”
Given that renewable energy sources like wind and solar don’t make up a large part of the state’s energy sources, utility officials say that they played a minimal role in the power shortage.
What’s more concerning, though, is what these crisis reveals. It shows how the U.S. electric infrastructure may not be fully suited and prepared to combat sharp demands for power. As the United States shifts towards more renewable energy which are more inconsistent as they are largely dependent on whether conditions (i.e. wind and solar energy), it brings about the need for sustainable energy storage to prevent crises like these from recurring in the future.
Utility officials in Texas were caught off-guard as “the surge in demand during the storm outpaced the grid operator’s highest estimate of just over 67,000 megawatts needed for. an extreme peak load. And 34,000 megawatts were kicked offline, diminishing supply.”
Predictions like these are extremely variable and unpredictable – and preparing for such events with large deviation may be unreasonable. But as technology and energy storage improves, scientists agree that events like these should reduce in the future.