Does Texas Need to Build More Power Plants? State's Electricity Use Puts Focus on Record Demand

It may be time to start building power plants in Texas again.The state's generators made a killing this week as unrelenting heat sent electricity prices skyrocketing to unprecedented levels, briefly blowing past a $9,000 a megawatt-hour ceiling. That put producers more than three-quarters of the way toward profits that the state's power market monitor says could touch off a power plant build-out. And the region's only halfway into the cooling season."We need these kinds of days" to demonstrate that the state is ripe for new plants, said Scott Burger, a energy research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.An expansion would make for a dramatic turnaround in the Lone Star State and stand in stark contrast to the glut of generation nationwide. The U.S. has become so awash in cheap natural gas and renewable power resources in recent years that electricity prices have, in some places, plunged below zero. This supply excess has forced massive, aging coal-fired power plants to retire, leaving a void that wind farms were expected to more than make up for in Texas.  Continue reading...

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