Why Does Texas Have Its Own Power Grid?
The United States has three main power grids: The Eastern and Western Interconnection, which each service multiple states, and Texas, which gets an independent power grid. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, handles 85 percent of the state’s power needs, producing and distributing electricity to 23 million people.
But, why does Texas need its own grid?
Slate reports that during World War II, Texas was home to many factories required for critical supplies. The electrical planners didn’t want to depend on energy coming in from other states, so they used the abundant natural resources to set up a grid specifically for Texas. Even today, this state requires a massive amount of electricity to keep the industrial sector powered, so it makes sense to have a dedicated grid.
Texas has a strong culture of self-sufficiency, which had an influence on the development of its own energy grid. It does have links to the other interconnections, which get used during particularly high demand periods. Unusually hot summers or long heat waves can sometimes lead to Texas importing energy, so the air conditioners keep going strong.
Not Subject to Federal Regulation
The utility companies governed by the ERCOT typically do not sell energy outside state lines. This configuration allows Texas to set most of its own rules and regulations, as opposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission setting oversight in place. State regulators can make decisions that make the most sense for their residents, rather than making adjustments based on the needs of multiple states.
Texas has the space and natural resources needed to produce inexpensive electricity for residents and businesses. These costs fall below the national average. Renewable energy sources, such as wind-powered electricity, are moving Texas to more environmentally friendly options.
However, inexpensive energy does have a downside. Population growth in Austin is significant, thanks to startups, tech companies and other businesses moving into the area. Google Fiber also plays a role in bringing in more people. The energy grid needs to adapt to the rising amount of individuals who call Texas home, but electricity companies have less of an incentive to build in Texas compared to states with higher energy costs.
Contact Bryant Electric Service to make sure you’re getting the most out of the Texas Power grid and take back your energy today!