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Texas Electricity Shortage

By powerwizard

Have you ever tried throwing a dinner party that got a little above your head? Everyone is coming in and you’re scrambling to get something easy in the oven because you know that you didn’t make enough for everybody. Eventually, things may get so bad that you cancel the event altogether and order a pizza or kick everyone out.

While more drastic, an electricity shortage is essentially the same thing. The ways that an electricity shortage affects homeowners vary from house to house. Like a dinner party with inadequate food, all the consequences fall to you, the homeowner!

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Texas electricity shortage

Proof Of The Texas Electricity Shortage

During the summer of 2019, the state of Texas experienced a record-high use of electricity.

Temperatures were reaching over 100℉ for multiple days in a row, creating a larger than normal demand for energy because consumers were using more electricity than normal (such as increased use of air conditioning, fans, etc., in an attempt to stay cool).

This excessive electricity demand has led to an increased worry about the Texas electricity shortage.

Why does Texas have such a high electricity demand?

The stretch of abnormally hot summer days in August 2019 has contributed to the problem, but there are more reasons than that.

The big picture problem is that if new power generation resources aren’t created in Texas quickly, the electricity system in the state could completely shut down.

How is electricity produced in Texas?

In recent years, Texas has been the leading producer of electricity using coals and natural gases.

If you are a Texas resident or interested in the Texas energy market, you might be asking yourself, “What is causing the Texas electricity shortage?”

If Texas is a leading producer of electricity throughout the United States, why is there an electricity shortage in Texas?

Here is what we know:

Record-High Summer Temperatures

Summer 2019 was a record-hot summer for Texas.

During these crucial summer months when electricity was in high demand, temperatures soared over 100℉ for many days in a row.

Texas residents could not catch a break from the excruciating heat and they were doing all that they could in an attempt to stay cool.

With those dreadfully high Texas summer temperatures came an increase in electricity usage as families and businesses attempted to keep their homes and work environments cool.

Where does the electricity in Texas come from?

In Texas, energy is sourced from multiple places.

Some of these sources include:

  • Natural gas
  • Oil
  • Wind turbines
  • Solar panels

Recently, Texas has begun to make the switch to using more renewable energy sources for its electricity – moving away from its dependency on natural gas.

Rather than using power plants to produce a majority of the energy produced in Texas, much of the electricity in Texas is now powered through wind-generated systems.

Although wind power is a clean source of electricity, these wind turbines are dependent on favorable weather conditions. When electricity is highly dependent on weather sources, the possibility of electricity shortages increases.

During the record-high summer of 2019, the wind was minimal to non-existent. For Texas, this meant that power generation resources were severely limited.

In short, no wind = no electricity.

A Shortage Of Power Energy Sources

Texas relies on multiple energy resources to provide electricity to its residents.

However, during the last six months of 2018, the state had multiple power generation projects canceled. These included three gas-fueled projects and five wind energy projects.

That is eight power energy sources that Texas could have benefitted from.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas shared that in addition to these eight project cancellations, nearly 2,500 megawatts of gas, wind, and solar projects were delayed.

Unfortunately, with all of the delays and cancellations of building power sources that produce energy, there will undoubtedly continue to be a widespread Texas electricity shortage.

Weather Conditions

As Texas continues to make the switch away from power energy sources and moves towards more renewable energy sources, the Texas electricity shortage is likely to continue.

The renewable energy sources that are becoming more popular in Texas – wind power and solar power – are heavily dependent on specific weather conditions.

Wind power requires ample wind to be trapped by the turbine to convert into electricity while solar power requires plenty of sunlight.

Without these weather conditions on a fairly regular basis, these two specific sources of renewable energy are not creating nearly enough electricity to supply the electricity consumers in Texas.

When these sources are lacking, the Texas electricity shortage continues to pose a problem.

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How Is Electricity Produced In Texas?

The energy in Texas is produced and sourced in a handful of different ways.

In the past, the most common sources of energy have been:

  • Natural gas
  • Oil

However, in more recent years, Texas has made a shift away from natural gas and oil sources and has attempted to produce more electricity through renewable energy sources.

Some of these popular renewable energy sources include:

  • Solar panels
  • Wind turbines


The United States has made tremendous growth in the solar power industry in an attempt to provide families and businesses access to affordable and clean energy.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is the idea of harnessing energy from the sun and converting this energy into electricity.

There are three main types of solar energy. They are:

1. Photovoltaics (PV)

PV panels can be installed at both utility-scale levels as well as on homes and businesses. The panels directly produce electricity from the sun.

2. Solar Heating & Cooling (SHC)

SHC panels are typically installed on residential or commercial properties. They use the sun’s thermal energy to change the temperature of the water in the air.

3. Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

CSP panels are only used for large utility-scale power plants. They also use the heat energy from the sun to change the temperature of the water in the air.

How Solar Is Contributing To The Shortage

Similar to wind turbines, solar energy is dependent on certain weather conditions. Solar panels cannot produce electricity without first capturing the energy from the sun.

But they need to capture a lot of sunlight to create enough electricity.

Although there are advantages to solar power, without the right weather conditions, solar energy can prove to be insufficient.

A lot of the energy is lost in the process of changing the heat from the sun into electricity.

Because of this, these solar panels need to capture every bit of possible sunlight to then produce as much electricity as they possibly can.

If the solar panels fail to provide electricity for consumers who choose to use this resource, solar energy is contributing to the Texas electricity shortage.


Wind power is a clean, free, and readily available renewable energy source. It is quickly becoming one of the most used energy sources in the United States because of its advantages.

Texas has recently jumped on board with wind power.

Now In Texas, wind power is becoming the most popular source of energy.

How does wind energy work?

Where wind turbines are available, they capture the wind’s power and convert it directly to energy.

  1. The wind turbines capture wind
  2. The turbine’s blades spin clockwise, capturing energy
  3. The main shaft of the turbine is triggered, allowing the gearbox to spin
  4. The gearbox sends the wind energy to a generator
  5. The generator converts the wind energy into electricity
  6. The electricity travels to a transformer where the voltage is adjusted to match the grid

Wind power is becoming a popular source of energy in Texas because of its many advantages.

Wind Energy Is Cost-Effective

This energy is one of the cheapest energy sources available today. Depending on the wind resource, wind power costs around .02 to .06¢/kWh.

The electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price and its fuel is free, which helps to lessen the price uncertainty that often comes along with traditional energy sources.

Helps To Create Jobs

A wind turbine technician is currently one of the fastest-growing American jobs with the potential to support more than 600,000 jobs in various forms over the next 30 years.

Clean Energy Source

Wind power is a renewable energy source, which means it is “clean.”

Unlike power plants that emit fossil fuels, wind turbines do not emit any form of gas that could potentially pollute the air. The wind is simple, straightforward, and clean.

There Is An Abundance Of Wind

The supply of wind across the nation is plentiful and inexhaustible.

In 2016, wind power became the number one source of renewable energy in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Energy shares that there is enough wind capacity to power over 20 million homes throughout the United States.

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How Wind Is Contributing To The Shortage

Texas has slowly begun to make the switch from natural gas energy sources to using renewable energy sources for electricity.

Wind energy is on the rise across Texas because it is believed to be cheaper and easier to maintain than natural gas sources.

However, wind power is a renewable energy source that is dependent on certain weather conditions.

Without windy days, there is no wind for turbines to capture.

Without the wind, the turbines have nothing to convert into electricity.

Although there are a lot of advantages to wind energy, conditions must be ideal for wind power to be beneficial to the energy market and to the consumers who choose to use renewable energy sources for their electricity.

If much of Texas uses wind power, which we know is on the rise, wind energy can quickly contribute to the problem of the Texas electricity shortage.

Natural Gas

Using natural gas for electricity has many economic, environmental, and technological disadvantages.

How is natural gas used for electricity?

Natural gas is primarily made of methane and has no color or odor.

When it is burned, it produces energy that can be used to generate electricity.

Although natural gas is not considered a renewable energy source, it is recognized as a good clean energy alternative.

Why is that?

When natural gas burns, it emits lower levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxides. It also produces fewer greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels.

How Natural Gas Is Contributing To The Shortage

Natural gas energy is contributing to the Texas electricity shortage because there are not enough pipelines to meet the demand.

When there is a shortage in an energy source it directly affects the production of energy.

Consumers who rely on natural gas for their electricity are then forced to be without power.

Additionally, many consumers have chosen to make the switch from natural gas energy to renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy.

Why is that? Renewable energy sources are:

  • Cheaper
  • More environmentally friendly

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Because there is a decrease in the demand for natural gas energy in Texas, many power plants in Texas have shut down and are being replaced by solar energy and wind turbines.

Today, only two nuclear power plants exist in Texas – the South Texas Project (STP) and the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.

As mentioned above, renewable energy sources are highly dependent on the right weather conditions.

Without ideal weather conditions for renewable energy sources, and with little to no demand for natural gas energy sources, the Texas electricity shortage has become a real problem for Texas residents.

The Texas Electricity Shortage

As Texas continues to make the switch to more renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy, the power shortage in Texas remains a problem.

Primarily, this is because these energy sources rely heavily on one major factor:

Texas weather conditions.

This is directly affecting the state’s ability to keep up with the high demand for electricity, especially during the crucial summer months when temperatures soar to record-high levels.

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Texas electricity shortage

Is Texas On Its Own Power Grid?

Texas is the only state in the lower 48 that has its own power grid.

What is a power grid?

The power grid is the network that delivers electricity to consumers daily. It can be made up of a few different things, including:

  • Generator stations
  • Transmission lines and towers
  • Individual consumer distribution lines

In the continental United States, there are two major power grids and three minor power grids.

The three minor power grids include:

  • The Eastern Interconnection
  • The Western Interconnection
  • The Texas Interconnection

The Texas power grid, the Texas Interconnection, is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Although Texas has its own power grid, ERCOT does not actually cover all of Texas.

El Paso, the upper Panhandle, and some of East Texas are a part of another grid because of the history of utility service territories and the remoteness of locations that ERCOT does not manage.

Why Does Texas Have Its Own Power Grid?

You are probably wondering why Texas is the only state in the lower 48 to have its own power grid.

Besides the fact that Texas is the largest state in the continental United States, the Texas Interconnection is its own power grid for political reasons.

What does this mean?

The separation of the Texas power grid originated during the evolution of electric utilities when Texas utility companies attempted to avoid following the federal regulations and rules.

Because of this separation, the Texas Interconnection is not subject to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

What does FERC do?

FERC regulates the transmission and wholesale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce. They also regulate the transportation of oil and review the proposals for building as it pertains to natural gas.

Are Electricity Rates Going Up Or Down?

Texas electricity shortage

With the Texas electricity shortage, are electricity rates in Texas going up or down?

It is because of the electricity shortage that electricity rates in Texas will continue to increase. Recently, electricity rates in Texas climbed higher than the United States average.

Between 2017 and 2019, prices for residential electricity in Texas increased by 4.1% compared to the U.S. average of 0.3%.

Why are electricity rates continuing to rise?

The simple answer is supply and demand.

When there is an increased need for electricity like during the Texas electricity shortage, Retail Electric Providers (REPs) increase their prices.

Unfortunately, REPs can do this because they know consumers need to use electricity.

Because of Texas’ deregulated energy market, there are more than 160 Texas electricity providers for you to choose from.

If you’re looking for a new electricity provider in your specific area of Texas, you can use the Power Wizard Savings Estimate tool.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Enter your exact Texas zip code
  2. Add some relevant information about your home or business
  3. Wait patiently for a few minutes
  4. Get matched with the electricity provider with the best electricity plan for your needs

Supply and demand is not the only factor contributing to the rise of the price of electricity.

Several other factors canseveral other factors that can influence the price of electricity. Some of these include:

  • Cost of fuels, especially when electricity is in high demand
  • Maintenance, construction, and operating costs of power plants
  • Costs to maintain the transmission and distribution system
  • Weather conditions
  • State regulations

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