Yes, the Texas power grid will be impacted by the April 8 eclipse

March 20, 2024 | by magnews24.com

ERCOT managers have an 11-day plan to get the state ready for the eclipse on April 8.

HOUSTON — THE QUESTION

Will the Texas power grid be impacted by the April 8 solar eclipse?

THE SOURCES

  • ERCOT
  • NASA
  • Dr. Daniel Cohan, associate professor at Rice University of environmental engineering

THE ANSWER

Yes, the Texas power grid will be impacted by the April 8 eclipse 

This is true.

WHAT WE FOUND

Texas solar farms in the path of the April 8 eclipse will see a substantial drop in production.

Those impacts on the solar farms are expected between 12:10 p.m. and 3:10 p.m., according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Leading up to the eclipse, ERCOT plans to send notices to its marketplace of suppliers while also monitoring for weather events that could lead to an increase in demand on the state power grid.

“… We still have plenty of other sources that we can turn on and off as needed, especially natural gas power plants. So when it comes to mild weather like we have in the spring, there’s plenty of slack in the system,” Rice University Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering Dr. Daniel Cohan said. “Plenty of power plants that aren’t being used to their fullest that can ramp up and down when the wind and solar vary.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Information Administration, there are just under a dozen solar farms that fall within the anticipated 90% totality on the eastern side of the total eclipse. This includes farms that are situated within the Houston area. 

In the last seven years, Texas has increased its solar production, making the state the second-largest solar producer in the U.S. after California.

“Solar power has grown tremendously,” Cohan said. “It took us until 2017 to get us our first one gigawatt of solar on the grid and now we are on 22, which means right now, as we speak, almost a third of our electricity is coming from solar across the state.”

 ERCOT has an 11-day plan to get its marketplace of power suppliers ready for the eclipse.

“Solar eclipses are rare and often decades can pass before a given state experiences full totality within the swath of this eclipse. So it’s not something we need to worry about too often that an eclipse will affect our power grid.”

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