Last week we told you that ERCOT said Texas is ready for the summer.

ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas told board members the riskiest time will be in August from 8 to 10 p.m. due to hotter temperatures and also the increased reliance on renewables.

Vegas said since the previous year, which saw the second-hottest summer on record, the grid’s added new generation, including more than nine gigawatts of solar and battery storage, 1.5 gigawatts of wind and 146 megawatts of natural gas.

ERCOT estimates that’s enough to power 2 million more homes. Ed Hirs, an Energy Fellow at the University of Houston, is skeptical.

Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, discovered that connecting the Texas power grid to the rest of the country would have prevented up to 80% of the blackouts that occurred during the devastating Winter Storm Uri in 2021.

Past reports showed an estimated 246 people died in that February 2021 freeze after ERCOT’s electrical grid failed due to severe cold. In the years since the storm, the state has required upgrades to winterize the grid. Another effort: to bring in a record amount of power from outside Texas.

In addition to fewer blackouts and increased grid reliability during extreme weather events, MIT researchers say the Connect the Grid Act would also save between $901 Million and $1.24 Billion annually.

Congressman Casar says he’s ready to work, and even compromise, with Republicans to get his legislation passed, which he also calls a free market bill.

One plan to import power into Texas is called Southern Spirit Transmission. It's a project from Pattern Energy that would build a 320-mile direct current connection between ERCOT and a transmission station on the Mississippi side of the Alabama/Mississippi state line. The project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2014 and is expected to come online by 2029.

During the height of the 2021 winter storm, ERCOT lost 52,000 MW of power generation. Since 1MW powers roughly 200 homes, they were short the amount of power needed to keep the lights on in 10.4 million homes. An additional 2000 MW of power would have allowed ERCOT to potentially reduce the outages by 400,000 homes but still would have left roughly 10 million Texans without power.

An October 2023 report from ERCOT found that the state’s grid needed to generate an additional 3,000 megawatts of power to reduce the risk of an Energy Emergency Alert possibility during a severe winter storm this winter to be below 10%.

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