While we use far more electricity during the heat of the summer, the wintertime is frequnetly the time of the most brown-outs due to a shortage of electricity, but officials who run the state's power grid are not expecting any hiccups this winter, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Wintertime brown-outs occur because big power plants undergo their scheduled maintenance during the winter, leaving the state short of maximum capacity.The most significant winter brown-out was in February of 2011, when customers all across the state were forced to endure 'scheduled outages' due to a shortage of generating capacity.
Leslie Sopko of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state's independent power grid, says, despite coal burning power plants being phased out across the state, there is enough new generating capacity coming on line to more than make up for the loss.
"At this point, we do anticipate there will be sufficient generation available to meet the demand both during the fall and winter season," Sopko said.
The state successfully made it through a very hot summer without any need for brownouts, and Sopko says new power sources will ease any projected disruptions this winter.
"For the fall season, we are expecting more than 900 megawatts of additional capacity," she said. "That includes two natural gas fired plants, one wind project, and I believe three solar projects."
The Texas power grid is independent of the grids that serve the eastern and western United States, making Texas the only state with its own power grid.
There have been concerns that the state's explosive growth, plus the strong economy which means employers need more electricity for round the clock operations, could lead to a strain on power supplies.