After Surges In West Texas, ERCOT Pushes A Plan To Expand Transmission Lines
The group that manages almost all of the Texas electric grid has decided it’s a good idea to build out more transmission lines in West Texas. That in itself might not sound like a big deal, but the reason behind it is. KUT’s Mose Buchele joins Morning Edition host Jennifer Stayton to explain.
Mose Buchele: Well, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has seen huge growth in electricity demand in West Texas. Peak demand increased nine-fold since 2010. And I’ll give you a guess why.
Stayton: OK, if we’re talking West Texas, we’re talking electricity demand in West Texas. It’s got to be oil, right?
Buchele: Yep, oil. You got it. Companies are still pumping a lot of oil out in West Texas. That takes a lot of electricity, but it’s not just oil activity, using electricity in West Texas. ERCOT is also seeing more electricity generated out west. Here is Leslie Sopko, an ERCOT spokesperson.
“You know more than 1,600 megawatts of solar resources are expected to come online in Pecos and Southwest Upton counties between 2016 and 2020. So, a lot of solar growth opportunity in that area.”
Buchele: Now keep in mind a megawatt can power up to 500 homes. So, you’ve got a lot of electricity use and a lot of potential solar power moving around the grid in West Texas.
“With that comes the potential for congestion on the transmission system. And so, that’s why we’re endorsing this project to basically add more transmission capability in that region.”