By Cavan Merski, data analyst, Pecan Street Inc.
With nerves still raw from last year’s catastrophic grid failure, Texans breathed a sigh of relief this week when the state’s first winter storm of 2022 proved to be far less severe than last year’s Winter Storm Uri. We dodged a bullet.
Some grid watchers are giving cautious credit to new power plant winterization requirements, but it’s important to note that most experts think the states’ promised grid reform fell far short of what it could or should have accomplished.
And that takes us to Pecan Street’s new analysis, completed just in time for the first anniversary of Winter Storm Uri. Untapped in Texas examines how residential solar, electric vehicles, and demand response programs could be leveraged for increased resiliency in individual homes and the broader grid.
Using electricity data gathered from Austin homes in our research network, the paper examines:
- How homes with rooftop solar performed during the storm and could have provided emergency backup power,
- How the freeze impacted EV charging and how EVs can help to fortify the grid,
- How various residential loads – from laundry to water heating – could provide demand response capacity during grid crises.
And, because none of these things are standard practice yet, we outline the five key things Texas needs for these ready-to-go solutions to become core ingredients of a stronger grid.