Texas summers are hot. And, for those of us willing to face the statistics, it only looks like they’re getting hotter. But that’s fine, so long as we have a roof over our heads with well ventilated air-conditioning, and a car with enough antifreeze to get us to and from work without having to succumb to the overbearing outside heat. Right?
Meeting the energy demands of the State of Texas hasn’t been any real issue for many years. But after the overpowering heat of last year’s summer, and the extended heat waves that threatened to bring an entire energy industry crashing down, people are beginning to wonder. For the first time in a long time, people are beginning to have real concerns as to whether the state of Texas is ready to meet their energy needs. And whether you live in Dallas, San Antonio, or Bryan-College Station, if the state isn’t ready to meet our demands for energy consumption, you are going to feel it.
So why the sudden overwhelming demand? Texas has managed to meet energy needs for decades, so why is the state in a sudden crunch? Some might say the effects of global warming are causing our homes to struggle resisting the climbing heat; and last year’s record breaking weather could hardly be offered as a rebuttal. But there are numerous other factors, the most prominent of which is the climbing growth of Texas’ population and economy.
In the last decade alone, Texas’ population has grown by over 4.2 million residents. Texas House Speaker, Joe Straus himself, claims that Texas has “by far the largest electric usage of any state—roughly equivalent to Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi combined.” That is a lot of electricity. It helps that Texas is also one of the largest states in the Nation, and quite consistently the hottest. But there is no getting around the fact that Texas’ economy is growing rapidly, and this economic prosperity is driving up electric demands at a rate that would put many other nations across the globe in a back-breaking position.
So, as a Bryan or College Station home owner, the next obvious question is: will Texas manage to meet the energy requirements for the Summer of 2012, and the several, if not innumerable summers following? The answer is yes. Texas will meet the energy demands of the state. Why? Because it has to.
To offer a (perhaps) more credible answer to the above question, Governor Rick Perry confidently proclaims that “based on current weather expectations, Texas has the capacity to meet consumer needs over the 2012 summer months.” Even Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, referring to the record hot summer of 2011, claims that “since then, the Legislature has worked closely with state agencies and generators across Texas to ensure we are prepared for 2012.”
All this political talk vaguely ensures that everything will be okay and whatnot. But the real question is how are they going to ensure we will meet the energy demands of 2012. Governor Rick Perry has this to say:
“To prepare for this summer the Public Utility Commission and ERCOT have taken some specific steps. The PUC is working with transmission and distribution companies to make better use of demand-response programs, which were created as part of their energy-efficiency requirement. ERCOT is continuing to expand its interruptible load programs, which allow large industrial and commercial users to voluntarily reduce consumption during periods of peak usage.”
So in laymen’s terms, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT) are taking measures to ensure better energy efficiency requirements throughout the state, and to work on their response programs to unexpected/sudden increased consumer demands (from extended heat waves, etc.).
Efficiency and reliability are all good and great, but another matter, probably the most important matter, is the development of new, affordable, and reusable energy sources. These solve all the problems and are the solutions to long-term energy demands. So what is Texas doing about this?
In Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s report on future energy demands, he claims that “Texas’ energy resources are as diverse and abundant as our booming population.” Believe it or not, this is almost an understatement. Texas has remained at the forefront of the nation’s energy industry, and through the use and gradual growth of diverse, renewable energy sources, Texas is actually paving the way for the entire Nation’s future energy policy. Texas is currently invested in Wind Energy, Hydropower, Ocean Power, Hydrogen, and all of the non-renewable fuels, from Nuclear to oil to natural gases. In fact, Texas’ growing use of wind turbines has lead the nation in the amount and percentage of energy produced, reaching over 3% of the states’ energy production in 2007, and climbing steadily ever since. Texas is also ranked first in the nation for solar resource potential, having a virtually unlimited solar energy supply.
All statistics aside, the irrefutable reason that Texas is pushing and leading the nation in the direction of new, innovative energy sources is because of the high demand in our state. Texas needs more energy to match the growing population, industry, and rising heat. And, as humans, we respond well to necessity. Texas will meet the energy requirements for 2012, and as the population grows and the summers remain hot as ever, Texas will continue to meet the energy requirements due to the growing investments and discoveries in the energy industry. So residents of Bryan and College Station, rest assured: this summer shouldn’t get too hot, so long as you stay indoors.
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