Jul 25, 2018

The AC Stayed On: 3 Takeaways From Texas' Scorching Heat Wave

Fort Worth, TX
Mose Buchele
KUT 90.5
Credit: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT
Credit: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

Take a rapidly growing state, add a scorching heat wave, and you have a recipe for historically high electricity use. So it was that Texas broke the record for power demand three times in the last week. Through it all, the state’s electric grid operated without major disruption.


With a smaller-than-ideal reserve margin and a massive demand for power, many industry analysts expected electricity prices to be high through much of the heat wave. But they weren't.

The reasons for those low prices are cheap natural gas and abundant wind power – and wind came on strong during the heat wave.

The percentage of power that comes from wind has been steadily increasing for years, Rhodes says, but at some times during the last week wind was “outperforming its own forecast.”

That means cheaper power for consumers, he says. “The grid just isn’t as stressed, because there’s just so much wind.”