Texans will never forget February 2021. Winter Storm Uri crippled the state’s natural gas supply and sparked a cascading failure of our electricity system. More than 4 million homes and businesses lost power, many of them for days. More than 700 people died. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimated the electricity crisis cost the state between $80 and $130 billion.
In addition to broad, grid-wide upgrades and improvements, community and residential solutions can improve efficiency throughout the year and provide an extra layer of protection against crisis-related power outages. Energy technology will continue to improve. Yet we already have the technological capability to significantly fortify the grid from increasing threats, reduce our reliance on fossil fuel electricity, and reduce electricity-related climate and air pollution.
Using energy data collected from Pecan Street’s network of connected homes in Austin during Texas’ historic 2021 winter storm, this paper demonstrates that we already have the technology to control demand and better protect families from electricity crises.
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