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What Texas’ Record-Breaking Energy Landscape Means to You

Headshot for Freedom Solar Power CEO, Bret Biggart, smiling in a white shirt and dark jacket.

Authored by Bret Biggart

Texas hasn’t met an energy record it couldn’t break. 

Our ability to keep up with a fast-growing economy helped make Texas the world’s energy leader. That said, it’s OK to be a little concerned about the future — especially after 2021’s winter blackouts and a summer of near-misses.

There are already headlines that this could be “the hottest summer of our lives.” For anyone who remembers last year’s brutal heat, that’s a little scary. Worse, a recent report by the state climatologist at Texas A&M shows that summers are getting even hotter and weather’s getting more extreme.

More than that, data centers, AI programs, and other big electricity users are adding strain to the system. The ERCOT grid, which has grown about 1% a year for 20 years, may need to be 78% bigger by 2030.

Texans are paying the price, literally, for that growth. Energy traders are already bidding record-high prices for this time of year to make sure they have electricity in August, when hot temperatures typically push the grid to its limit.

Solar is a market solution that’s meeting the moment.

Texas already leads the nation in grid-scale solar, and growing numbers of solar farms are powering the ERCOT grid through hot afternoons.

Rooftop solar projects are also vital to our energy future. They reduce power bills by delivering clean, no-cost electricity during the heat of the day. And with back-up battery units such as the Tesla Powerwall, owners can switch over to electricity they’ve generated and stored themselves when the grid gets tight and prices spike.

That’s obviously big for consumers, keeping them free and safe from high bills and blackouts. It’s also crucial for the future of the Texas power grid: every bit of electricity that Texans generate themselves means there’s more energy for other families and businesses across the state.

That helps keep the grid running. More than that, policies like net-metering let Texans sell power back onto the grid when solar panels are generating more than owners are using. That turns houses, businesses and even neighborhoods into miniature, zero-emission power plants.

Our state needs consumer-focused policies that reward people for helping keep the lights on. That includes paying Texans for producing the electricity Texas needs when Texas needs it.

We won’t be getting away from gas plants anytime soon. But real energy independence requires diverse energy sources.

The sun in our big sky is as much a part of Texas — and Texas’ future — as the oil and gas under our feet.