Science & Tech

Summer Heat And The Texas Power Grid

The director of Texas A&M’s Smart Grid Center says he’s optimistic about the grid’s reliability as temperatures rise, but says we need to stay diligent to changing conditions.
By Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications June 9, 2023

view from below of electric transmission towers against a blue sky on a sunny day
Texans likely won’t see any large scale blackouts this summer, an expert says.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images


With higher-than-average temperatures predicted this summer for Texas, attention is once again focused on the state’s power grid. Texas A&M Today checked in with Dr. Thomas Overbye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the university’s Smart Grid Center.

Portrait of Thomas Overbye
Dr. Thomas Overbye.

Texas A&M Engineering

What are the risks to the Texas power grid this summer?

Assuming we have typical summer conditions I’m not expecting any problems. The total ERCOT load is expected to be higher than in 2022, mostly because of our growing population. However, we have also added more generation. The situation most likely to result in a generation shortfall would be a day with high temperatures and hence high load, more-than-normal unexpected outages for some of the generators, and low wind generation.

What is being done or still needs to be done to ensure reliable power all summer long?

I think we are well prepared for summer conditions, but of course we need to stay diligent to changing conditions.

As temperatures continue to rise, should Texans be concerned about brownouts or even extended outages?

In general, no. While there is always the potential for a large scale blackout, such as our country experienced back in August 2003, I’m not expecting anything for this summer.

What role does renewable energy play in keeping the lights on in Texas?

Texas gets a large percentage of its electricity from wind and solar. In 2022 wind provided about 25% of our electricity while solar provided 6%. Texas is by far the number one state in terms of combined wind and solar electricity production, with California a distant second.

Will Texas ever run on 100 percent renewable energy?

“Ever” is a long time, but I’m not expecting us to reach 100% renewable energy anytime soon. Since wind and solar are intermittent, replacing our non-renewable generation would require vast amounts of electricity storage, something that is currently prohibitively expensive.

What has the state government done to better ensure grid reliability?

The state has done a good job of highlighting the importance of our electric grid and putting a focus on electric grid reliability. Since the events of 2021, many changes have been made to the design and operation of our grid, such as better generator inspections, adding more generation, and changing the design of our electricity market.

What are your hopes for the future of power in Texas?

I am optimistic about the future for power in Texas. However, it is important to keep in mind the unique challenges we face as a large and geographically diverse state with its own electric grid.  Across the country, and actually around the world, electric grids are rapidly changing, for example as we integrate in large amounts of renewable generation while simultaneously electrifying transportation. There are also continuing threats to our electric grid, including from the weather and from cyberattacks. Now is not the time to get complacent about the grid. Texas A&M University is currently a worldwide leader in this area, and we hope to continue to play an important role in helping to provide the people of Texas with the world’s best electric grid.

Media contact: Lesley Henton,

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