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Renewable Energy Integration in Texas Electric Grid Modernization

November 23, 2011

Recently, the announcement of federal projects involving the creation of new electric transmission lines brought new hope for residents of affected states, all eagerly anticipating the creation of new jobs plus an increase in their electrical grid capacity. Not only that, the project also involves the modernization of the electricity grid which will facilitate better integration and growth of renewable energy sources.

Texas electricity stands among the leaders of electrical grid modernization with the roll out of smart meters in various cities and localities. Not only will this give full monitoring control for consumers, but it will also enable the grid operator to predict or determine when electricity produced from the renewable energy source is available for integration into the grid. Not only will this further enhance consumers’ power to choose energy choices, but they will also benefit significantly from higher energy efficiency and electricity savings. 

Integration of Renewable Energy Sources

One of the most important elements for the production of Texas electricity through renewable energy means is predictability particularly with regards to integration during peak hours. Knowing how much Texas electricity capacity is available from renewable energy will rely heavily on how smart the electrical grid will be. With the use of new technologies for wind and solar energy forecasting and then integrating smart grid technologies such as smart meters and other systems.

Funding has already been released by the US Department of Energy to develop advanced forecasting methods for solar and wind energy generation. Through these methods, accurate forecasts on when and where Texas electricity is generated from alternative or renewable energy means. Once this integration is completed and the smart grid fully established, consumers will eventually enjoy a fully interactive, intelligent and digitized electric grid.

Smart Meter Deployment 

Smart meter deployment had its share of issues and concerns raised by consumer groups, particularly with the increased Texas electricity bills that surprised many. Although there were other factors such as the weather condition, lack of education and awareness about what the smart grid and smart meters can do proved to be a more important factor.

There are now more than 1.3 million smart meters deployed across Texas and this fully integrated advanced metering system can help reduce peak loads as well as provide better reliability. On the part of the utility company, they will have greater visibility of the operations and will most likely reduce maintenance and operational costs. A great example is the deployment and integration of the smart meter system to the Houston electricity grid.

As part of the modernization of the country’s electricity grid, more than five million smart meters have already been issued and installed. Smart meters provide real-time feedback that would give both consumers and utility companies a better insight about their electricity usage. This will allow utility companies to react in real time to electrical emergencies as well as monitor peak usages, allowing them to tap renewable energy resources when the demand calls for additional capacity – hereby securing a good future for the Texas electricity grid.

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