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Another Texas Blackout? How the Power Grid Nearly Went Offline and What it Means for Texas.

Updated: Aug 18, 2021



During the week of June 15th, high temperatures led many Texas residents to run their AC’s to combat the heat. Most of the time this is not a problem, but during this particular weekend, it resulted in a “tight” power grid condition. Tight power grid situations occur when the amount of power demanded by consumers approaches the maximum amount of power that can be supplied by the powerplant. This June has seen a record high in consumer demand for electricity in Texas, leading to a much higher electricity draw from consumers. Simultaneously, several power plants unexpectedly went offline, resulting in much less power supply. With the amount of power demanded coming dangerously close to the amount available, Texas officials were quick to ask homeowners to raise their thermostats to 78 degrees in order to avoid outages.


Although no harm was caused this time, this situation does raise concern. The amount of electricity being used was below the safety margin set by Texas, meaning that if it were to have exceeded it, outages or even a blackout could have occurred. With fear still high from the blackouts this past winter, power plant officials have raised concerns of power usage being too high if heat waves or droughts occur this summer.


With the power grid likely running tightly this summer in Texas as temperatures rise even higher, it is important to detect signs of failure before they happen. This is where acoustic ultrasound technology could be applicable.


CTRL Systems products like the UL101 play important roles in the monitoring of electrical and power systems to prevent asset failure before it occurs. By providing a solution to scan large areas quickly while still being able to pinpoint faults (even in locations with many electrical currents), it could play a role in preventing power plant failure early, allowing repairs to be made precisely and quickly. When a powerplant can’t detect faults early, it results in outages and decreases the customer experience. Therefore, this summer it will be vital for Texas power plants to take steps to ensure that equipment is running efficiently before it is too late.


Sources: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/energy-environment/2021/05/27/399291/texas-winter-storm-death-toll-could-be-much-higher-than-the-states-count-buzzfeed-data-review-found/


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