Recent News

By Tag

See all

By Month

See all

KVUE: Texas Power Grid Operator Predicts Power Demand Will Nearly Double by 2030

Posted by Adam Bennett on Jun 13, 2024

Texas news station KVUE covers a recent forecast by The Electric Reliability Council of Texas that states power demand in the region will nearly double by 2030. The story quotes Matt Boms of Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance (United's Texas state chapter), who emphasized the importance of distributed energy resources for grid reliability during a Texas Senate Business & Commerce committee hearing. 

Energy officials told state lawmakers on Wednesday that power demand in Texas is growing even faster than expected.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s power grid, is now forecasting power demand to nearly double by 2030.

During a public hearing before the Texas Senate Business & Commerce committee, Lori Cobos with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) said ERCOT expects power demand to increase to 150 gigawatts by 2030, up from 85 gigawatts currently.

That updated projection is 40 gigawatts higher than what was previously forecasted. Cobos said roughly 60% of the new demand is from Bitcoin mining and data centers, including those run by artificial intelligence (AI).

Cobos attributed the rest to hydrogen production facilities, along with the expansion and electrification of existing industries, including oil and gas.

Cobos said Texas has the nation’s fastest-growing economy, the world’s eighth-largest economy and a current population of 30 million that’s expected to reach 50 million people by 2050.

The new projection caught several members of the Texas Senate off guard, with State Sen. Charles Schwertner, a Republican from Georgetown and the committee’s chairman, questioning why lawmakers were just now hearing it.

Woody Rickerson, senior vice president and chief operating officer of ERCOT, responded by saying previous forecasts used a different, more conservative methodology.

While Schwertner and some colleagues had questions about the accuracy of this new prediction, members of both parties said the new information means a new approach is needed moving forward.

“It [has] huge policy implications, and every assumption we’ve made in the last four years is now called into question once again,” State Sen. Nathan Johnson, a Democrat from Dallas, said. “All of them.”

“AI’s just come on the scene, but who knows what’s next, even after that, that will consume even more?” State Sen. Donna Campbell, a Republican from New Braunfels, asked. “Can we just say, ‘No, you can’t come’?”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick responded to ERCOT’s new projection in a social media post on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, writing that the state needs to take a close look at crypto mining and data centers. Patrick said the two industries “produce very few jobs compared to the incredible demands they place on our grid.”

In late May, Patrick reported that 81 companies had applied for low-interest loans from the state to build new dispatchable power plants, which would add 41 more gigawatts to the grid.

Matt Boms, the executive director of Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, testified during the hearing on the importance of distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar and smart meters, for grid reliability.

“From our perspective, you can’t solve this problem without working on the demand side of the solution,” Boms told KVUE during an interview following his testimony. “How do we tackle energy efficiency, demand response and distributed energy resources in Texas, in a state that really needs every megawatt that it can get?”

Boms wants to see new transmission built to more effectively move cleaner energy.

State lawmakers won’t be able to pass new bills until the next legislative session, which begins in January.

Read the full article here.

Topics: United In The News, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, Texas, Matthew Boms