Comments by Thomas Overbye and Le Xie on Impact of U.S. Heat Wave on Texas Power Grid in July 2022

On the impact of U.S. heat wave on the power grid of Texas, National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed Thomas Overbye, Ph.D. (O’Donnell Foundation Chair III Professor at  Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, TAMU, and Director of TEES Smart Grid Center) and Le Xie, Ph.D. (Segers Family Dean’s Excellence Professor, Chancellor EDGES Fellow, and Presidential Impact Fellow in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, TAMU, Associate Director-Energy Digitization at Texas A&M Energy Institute, and Assistant Director for Research of TEES Smart Grid Center) and posted an article on July 22, 2022.  That day, temperature in Wichita Falls, Texas, reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  “The electric load is high,” was commented by Dr. Overbye, but the state is “cautiously optimistic that everything will be fine with the grid.” As more storage capacity, in the form of huge batteries, comes online, said Dr. Overbye, that is important for Texas, which has “by far the largest amount of wind plus solar” feeding the grid than any other state.

Regarding supply, demand and infrastructure, Dr. Xie stated that the utilities “have to just make sure there is enough of operating reserves, meaning there will be enough generators ready and enough of a fuel supply to kick in.” As an electricity consumer, “Maybe you can wait until later in the evening to do your laundry, for example. Or you could consider setting your thermostat a couple of degrees higher.” Regarding the infrastructure, “you need to make sure the delivery systems, the transmission substations, distribution substations and transformers are well maintained and performing well during this heat wave.”

The full NPR article including more information and comments can be accessed here.