For A Whole Month, Texas Used More Solar Power Than Coal – Twisted Sifter

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Source: Shutterstock

Everyone is thinking about the environment these days, and how we can be more efficient, do more with less, and hopefully make big impacts on the future.

Well, everyone except big oil and our legislators. But that’s a different story.

Now Texas, one of the largest states in the union, has used more solar than coal over the span of a month for the first time ever.

You might recall the unprecedented cold snapp that happened back in 2021, putting so much pressure on the electric grid in Texas that widespread blackouts resulted.

Most of the loss of capacity was in gas-fired power stations, despite the rush to blame wind power, and since then, the powers that be in the state have been on the hunt for a way to make sure that never happens again.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Photovoltaic panels have been installed in the years since, and in March of 2024, solar provided more of Texas’s electricity than coal.

Solar production is up almost three times from where it was in the March following the deadly freeze.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which the grid that supplies 9 out of 10 Texans, used 3.26 million megawatt hours of solar electricity in March.

That is compared to 2.96 million megawatt hours from coal, so around a 10% difference.

The Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) says this it just the last in a string of milestones.

This past January, solar helped prevent another system meltdown during a cold snap, shouldering almost a quarter of demand in the middle of the day.

More than 7 gigawatts of solar capacity is set to be added to the Texas grid by the end of the year, which is an increase of almost a third compared to where they are now.

Plans for 2025 are even more dramatic, with experts predicting solar will out produce coal over the course of the entire year.

Demand in Texas will not grow fast enough to require the extra production, and coal will likely be what is phased on, not gas. By the end of 2024, its usage will likely hover right around 10%.

Texas is also leading America in the rate of solar battery installation. These are batteries that soak up the excess power during the day, while the sun is shining, and save it up to release during darkness hours.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Shockingly, Texas is close to the global cutting edge in this arena.

Right now, Texas has 5.2 gigawatts of operational battery storage, and that number is expected to climb to 10.9 gigawatts by the end of the year.

Renewable energy has been held back because too many people in charge say it won’t work, but we’re witnessing – even in a state prone to dismissing such things – a big success.

One big reason for solar’s success in Texas and elsewhere is that it’s much cheaper than the alternatives.

So, I can’t imagine even the staunch holdouts will be able to resist for much longer.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!

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