The Impact of Renewables in ERCOT During the Summer of 2023

From June to September 2023, renewable energy saved Texans nearly $2 billion in avoided power costs, reduced water use, and emissions. Wind and Solar provided 25% of the electricity consumed by Texans over the summer. This report assesses the economic and environmental savings due to wind and solar deployment in Texas over the summer of 2023.

The Impact of an Additional 10GW of Utility-scale Solar in ERCOT During Winter Storm URI

In 2021, winter storm Uri caused one of the worst blackouts in recent US history, leaving millions of Texans to battle dangerously low temperatures without power. The storm resulted in the record loss of over 50,000 MW of power plant capacity, including 30,000 MW of non-renewables, and forced the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to shed 20,000 MW of load over three days. 

Had there been a way to generate power without being tied to limited fuel sources, the effects of winter storm Uri may have been different. At the time, ERCOT’s solar fleet was much lower, contributing 1.4% of the system’s overall capacity. GridLab and IdeaSmiths conducted an analysis of how the system would have performed if it had been equipped with an additional 10 GW of utility-scale solar PV capacity. Specifically, the paper evaluates how more solar could have mitigated load shed for Texas. 

Our findings draw attention to the value of solar during extreme weather events, which are becoming increasingly common. Additional solar could help mitigate future blackouts and prevent the next grid-related catastrophe.

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