Texas grid that powers 70% of the state is at risk of failure and streaming and cryptocurrency are its biggest threats

Jalyn Smoot

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ERCOT warns that Texas grid struggling to meet record demands, at risk of failureGetty Images

Heading into the summer, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) predicted that Texas would demand the highest amount of energy in its history as residents try to keep cool against the record-breaking temperatures.

ERCOT projections indicated that the Texas grid would be able to withstand and supply the demand, but the latest reports aren't as assuring.

Yesterday, ERCOT issued a call for voluntary conservation. ERCOT states that the exceedingly high temperatures Texas and most of the Central U.S faces are driving the energy demand.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has already had more 100-degree days this year than in the previous three years, according to data from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the triple digits next week as well, putting the Dallas-Fort Worth area on pace to endure the most 100-degree days since the sweltering summer of 2013.

With everyone dropping their A/C as low as possible to keep cool, ERCOT has called on Texas residents to conserve energy between the hours of 2 and 8 p.m. this week.

Here are a few ways ERCOT suggests Texas residents can reduce their energy use:

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate cool air
  • Avoid using large appliances
  • If you aren't using it, unplug it

ERCOT also made a few suggestions on how to navigate any potential blackouts:

  • Fully charge portable power banks in case of a blackout
  • Stock up on canned foods and bottled water
  • Keep all generators in a well-ventilated area

The conservation effort is a voluntary attempt, and the grid status is not considered to be critical just yet. Still, with more than 23 million Texas residents depending on it, and incoming record heat waves, the state power grid will need to hold up this summer.

Aside from the demand created by the heat, ERCOT is also trying to equip the power grid to handle a rise in something else that is blazing hot right now- cryptocurrency.

ERCOT projects that the explosion of cryptocurrency could generate up to 16 gigawatts of new electricity demand by 2026, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the power grid's capacity.

To put this data in perspective, this would be enough electricity to power over 3 million homes on high-usage days.

This is a rather exorbitant amount of power usage for something as novel as cryptocurrency and a trend that poses a major threat to the Texas grid.

Globally, trends related to cryptocurrency, such as crypto mining, have led to massive power outages.

Last November, Kazakhstan faced widespread electricity shortages amid a surge in mining, as reported by the Financial Times. Kazakhstan has been dealing with an overloaded energy grid since miners migrated from China, which cracked down on crypto last year and banned crypto-based transactions in September 2021.

Kazakhstan experienced outages at three of its major coal-fired power plants, leading the country to become more stringent with its crypto regulations.

The country now sits in the number two spot — just behind the US — as one of the most robust crypto mining spots, according to data from the University of Cambridge.

A similar surge in crypto mining would greatly challenge an already shaky Texas power grid and could pose trouble for the Lone Star state.

Hopefully, the cryptocurrency boom doesn't exhaust the grid beyond capacity and the energy conservation efforts are beneficial in maintaining the grid.

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Dallas-based reporter with a focus on business, environmental justice, music, politics, and major events https://linktr.ee/JustJalyn_

Dallas, TX
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