ANGLETON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been 11 months since the winter storm paralyzed Texas, and power operator ERCOT, is warning about staffing shortages that could impact needed improvements to the grid.
Meanwhile, Tesla is entering the Texas energy market. There's a new energy storage site in Angleton, and new video from Tesla said their 81 megapacks in the city will provide support to the grid by balancing demand, lowering energy costs, and keeping the lights on.
"Energy storage is coming to Texas in a big way," said Doug Lewin, an energy consultant in Austin.
Lewin predicted that the site will likely be one of several that can provide backup power and reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels. He called this type of energy storage helpful, but still not a solution for the problems that plunged millions of Texans into frigid darkness when the grid failed.
"It will help provide a portion of the power we need, but we are also going to need some long duration storage," Lewin said.
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Think of this short-term storage as a plan B. ERCOT is in charge of running the state's plan A, which is the grid. Right now, they have more than 60 vacancies, with a majority of the openings for engineers.
When questioned about reliability on the heels of a cold snap, ERCOT sent ABC 13 a statement saying, "While ERCOT is working aggressively to fill vacant roles within the organization, we have the personnel in place to ensure the grid is reliable this winter."
The Public Utility Commission of Texas also sent ABC13 the following statement.
"The Texas grid is more reliable and resilient than it's ever been because of winter weatherization requirements and redesigning the electricity market to make sure more power is available early, rather than waiting for an emergency to bring it on line. That means the grid is well prepared to meet the state's electricity needs in cool weather."
"What we have not seen yet addressed that I think most fundamentally needs to be addressed, is the required winterization of natural gas supply," Lewin said.
He also said our system still has room to improve, while private companies like Tesla can help out until the grid gets where it needs to be.
"I think the sort of headline there is storage is coming, and it's really great for grid reliability and resiliency. It does not solve every single problem," Lewin said.
Tesla to provide energy storage to help Texas power grid, but it doesn't solve long-term problems