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Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 2:00 AM
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ERCOT seeking to regulate new industrial consumers

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is seeking to require large electric consumers to get its approval before connecting to its grid, The News reported. Opponents of the proposal say it is unprecedented and could damage the state’s ability to attract large new businesses to the state.

Under ERCOT’s proposal, any new facility that consumes an average peak of 75 megawatts would need its OK before getting power from the grid. That is enough electricity to power 15,000 homes, according to The News.

The proposed regulation, which is months away from final approval, comes due to the influx of large data centers, including cryptocurrency mining facilities that gobble up electricity from a grid that has become increasingly strained during both winter storms such as Uri in 2021 and last summer’s intense heat wave.

Cryptominers and data centers differ from traditional power users in that they can turn power on and off almost immediately to take advantage of fluctuations in power prices. Some crypto centers made millions of dollars over the summer by voluntarily cutting usage when the grid is approaching peak levels.

“Many large loads that have connected to the system within the past two years are capable of going from full consumption to no consumption (or the reverse) in five minutes or less,” ERCOT spokeswoman Trudi Webster said in an email to The News.

DSHS recommends getting flu vaccines

All eligible Texans are urged by the Texas Department of State Health Services to get a flu shot as soon as possible. It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to be effective,

experts say. “Seasonal influenza presents a real public health threat to Texans, and immunization remains our best defense against serious flu illness,” said DSHS Commissioner Jennifer Shuford.

It is also both possible and safe to get a flu vaccine and an updated COVID-19 vaccine at the same time if one is due for both.

Approximately 36,000 Americans die each year from flu-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two solar eclipses on the horizon for Texans

There are two solar eclipses coming up over Texas skies in the next six months, the Texas Standard reported, the first in less than a week.

The “ring of fire” solar eclipse arrives on Oct.

14 when a halo of light will be visible around the moon but should be viewed through solar eclipse glasses.

Depending on cloud conditions, the annular — Latin for ring — eclipse will be visible in Texas about noon, primarily in the Hill Country and around San Antonio. The total eclipse will occur on April 8 of next year starting at 1:30 p.m., along a line in Texas from Del Rio to Texarkana.

Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches, Lufkin and Cedar Park. Email: gborders@ texaspress.com.


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