Blackouts could be slashed if Texas joins the U.S. grid — study

By Jason Plautz | 06/03/2024 06:53 AM EDT

An MIT study finds that connecting Texas to neighboring power markets could avert energy disasters similar to the deadly 2021 winter storm.

Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) attends a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol in March.

Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) attends a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol in March. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Connecting the Texas electric grid to the rest of the nation could prevent power outages affecting millions of people during extreme weather events similar to the deadly 2021 Winter Storm Uri, according to a new study published Monday.

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shared with E&E News also found that expanding transmission capacity in and out of Texas could slash national carbon dioxide emissions by allowing the state to export its glut of clean energy.

The study from MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research modeled the effects of a bill, H.R. 7348, sponsored by Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) that would require the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to build transmission connections to neighboring electricity markets. ERCOT, which manages about 90 percent of the state’s electricity demand, is mostly siloed from the large regional grids that serve states surrounding Texas.


“This study proves what so many Texans already know — that Texas cannot operate as an island,” Casar said in an interview Friday. “By connecting the Texas electric grid, we can keep millions of people’s lights on in Texas while reducing the cost of electricity nationwide and promoting a cleaner economy.”