Heat Waves All Over the World
The climate has been almost unbearable in Europe for the past weeks. At some point, temperatures rose to over 37 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit 98.6) even in Hungary. It is confirmed that these heat waves were not the last ones the world had to face this summer. It is warming up in Europe in the coming days; however, Texas is about to face record-high temperatures this week. The operator of the state’s power grid had to ask the residents a second time this year to conserve energy because they suspect that the overuse of air conditioning units could force the grid into blackouts again.
Running out of Reserves
The state faces a ‘potential reserve capacity shortage with no market solution available’, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in an operating notice on its website. ERCOT oversees the power of over 26 million customers. They previously assured their residents that energy reserves are going to be able to meet the demands of the population after millions of people suffered with no heat in a deep freeze in early 2021.
Temperatures in the state have reached record highs on Sunday, with 40.6 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit 105) recorded at the airport in Houston. With this, the heat surpassed a 1909 record high. ERCOT; therefore, has urged their consumers to conserve electricity between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., saying that the demand could reach about 80.000 megawatts – with their reserves only being at 80.200MW. The power usage could top the previous record of 78.204MW used on 8 July.
How Much is a Megawatt?
One megawatt of energy can power about 1000 US homes on an average day; however, in such a heat wave this number sinks to about 200. The grid operator called for more power from its suppliers and urged the large industrial consumers to reduce their energy use.
With shortages coming, energy prices are set to increase in the States. Sources confirm that this will mostly affect Texas; however, as the summer soars in the entire world, other states could be in trouble as well.
European countries have been facing shortages for the last couple of months due to the sanctions imposed on Russia, and the amount of gas being delivered. On 11 July, Russia completely cut gas supplies going through their Nord Stream 1 pipeline. While they have claimed that maintenance is needed, Germany and other EU countries fear that the stopping has political reasons behind it.
With the gas supplies lowered, many countries of the EU started to build their energy reserves as best as they could for the coming winter. While most countries are not likely to face shortages in the summer, since air conditioning is not as common as it is in the US, the approaching winter could put a strain on the energy consumption of all EU countries.
Hungarian officials have stated that the country’s reserves are in a spectacular state, and already contain almost enough to last the entire winter. This means that for Hungarian households, there will be no shortages throughout the winter and the cost of living will stay rather low.
Not so Different
In conclusion, while many European countries are on the brink of an energy crisis, it is imperative to note that Texas could face it as well. While many media outlets focus on Europe in the shadow of the war, it should be noted that energy shortages are starting to become a world-wide problem. For this reason, countries should strive for sustainable and nuclear energy sources, since they are the most reliable and environmentally friendly.