Changing Susceptibility to Cold Weather in Texas Power Demand
13 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2021
Date Written: November 26, 2021
We estimate the effect of heightened temperature sensitivity on electricity demand in Texas during the February 2021 blackout event. Using 20 years of hourly data, we estimate the relationship between temperature and electricity demand, finding electricity demand has become more responsive to cold temperatures over time across much of the state. This is consistent with the fact electric heating penetration has similarly increased over the past 20 years in Texas. We use these results to project the effect of increased sensitivity to cold temperatures on electricity demand over the range of temperatures observed during the blackout event. We find total electric load was 8% higher on average, and slightly more than 10,000 megawatts higher during the peak hour, than it would have been had temperature sensitivity remained unchanged at early 2000s levels. Our results highlight that Texas's increased susceptibility to cold weather extremes is not limited to the supply side, but the demand side as well. These findings have implications to other regions in the United States and globally that are seeking to reduce their carbon emissions through the electrification of space heating.
Keywords: Temperature response function, electric heat, weather extremes, electricity demand, ERCOT
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