State of Texas planning to use funds given by US Dept. of Energy to strengthen, improve grid

Erica Simon Image
Friday, July 7, 2023
U.S. Energy Dept. gives millions to improve Texas grid
EMBED <>More Videos

The US Dept. of Energy gives a large allotment of $60.6 million to the state of Texas to look into the power grid's resilience.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Help is on the way for Texas' troubled grid.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced nine states and three Tribal Nations would get money to shore up their systems and make them more resilient.

Of President Joe Biden's Investing in America agenda, Texas got the highest money allotment totaled at $60.6 million.

RELATED: ERCOT launches new tool to deliver information on Texas grid conditions to the public

With the deadly winter freeze in 2021 and the city under several 'Weather Watches' this summer, most argue we need every penny. ABC13 spoke directly to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm about Texans' concerns and asked what her message was to millions who aren't confident in ERCOT or the grid.

"Bottom line is you need a resilient grid to make sure the lights stay on, the air conditioners stay on, and this announcement today is one step towards helping that," Granholm said.

Specifically, Texas will use the new grant funds to identify gaps in grid resilience and minimize disruption to normal grid operations during weather events -- through weatherization and modeling technologies, as well as vegetation and fuel load management.

The Lone Star State will also increase the skilled workforce by ensuring installed resilience measures can be operated and maintained without contractor support whenever possible. Secretary Granholm says Texas can go a lot farther if we partner outside ourselves for energy, but if not, we should use what we have-clean energy.

RELATED: Triple-digit heat prompts concerns about state's power grid and possible roadway damage

"You have been an example of why renewable energy is important because at peak times in Texas, 35-40% of your grid has been run on solar and wind. You're number one in the country in the production of wind energy. Texas is on its own by choice. If Texas ever wanted to move in that direction, I know the federal government would be willing to have that handshake. Totally respect the decision to that, but it might be another form of resilience that Texans might consider," Secretary Granholm said.

President Biden has strongly advocated renewable energy, as he says his goal is for the nation to have 100% clean electricity by 2035.

For more on this story, follow Erica Simon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.