The nation’s second-most populous state is looking to address its aging electric grid.
Late last year, voters in Texas approved a constitutional amendment authorizing a new $10 billion Texas Energy Fund (TEF) to provide low-interest loans to build gas-fired power plants, develop microgrids, and modernize portions of the state’s electric grid.
Administered by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the new TEF will include $7.2 billion in funding to support “any new construction or upgrade that results in at least 100 MW of dispatchable generation coming online and interconnecting to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid before June 1, 2029,” according to a story on Utility Dive.
An additional $1.8 billion is earmarked for development of microgrids – interconnected loads and distributed energy resources that improve customer reliability and resilience to grid disturbances – and backup power for critical facilities across the Lone Star State. Another $1 billion is intended for projects focused on modernizing and weatherizing the state’s electric grid.
The move to bolster Texas’ energy infrastructure comes after 2021, when Winter Storm Uri caused widespread blackouts and led to the death of 246 people across 77 counties.
Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association issued a statement lauding the result of the vote, saying that “With an estimated 1,000 people a day moving to the Lone Star State, growing infrastructure is essential to the success of every Texan.”
“[The Texas Energy Fund will] help to support the development of new water supplies to meet the needs of our growing population; strengthen the reliability of our electric grid by ensuring it performs no matter the weather as well as increase the supply of electricity by encouraging additional generation; and close the digital divide by expanding broadband access in rural, underserved, and remote areas,” Staples said.
While Texas’ electric grid problems have grabbed most of the headlines, the other 49 United States face similar struggles to provide reliable energy to their residents.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s energy infrastructure a C- in its latest Infrastructure Report Card.
“Utilities are taking proactive steps to strengthen the electric grid through resilience measures,” the ASCE said in its report. “However, weather remains an increasing threat. Among 638 transmission outage events reported from 2014 to 2018, severe weather was cited as the predominant cause.”
92% of all electric service interruptions occur at the distribution section of the grid, due to a combination of aging infrastructure, severe weather events, and vandalism. Transmission and distribution problems such as those caused by weather-related events cost U.S. households an estimated $28 to $169 annually. And the Department of Energy currently estimates that power outages cost the U.S. economy at least $150 billion annually.
The first step toward ensuring the success of any kind of infrastructure project starts before you even put a shovel in the ground.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does GPRS Perform SUE Work?
Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) reduced the risk and improves the accuracy of subsurface utility readings. GPRS provides private utility locating services that support SUE, but we do not currently provide a fully comprehensive, in-house SUE service.
What are the benefits of underground utility mapping?
Having an updated and accurate map of your subsurface infrastructure reduces accidents, budget overruns, change orders, and project downtime caused by dangerous and costly subsurface damage.
How does SiteMap® assist with utility mapping?
SiteMap®, powered by GPRS, is the industry-leading infrastructure management software that provides you with spatial awareness of the built world both above and below ground on your site. It’s a single source of truth, housing the 99.8%+ accurate utility locating and concrete scanning, NASSCO-certified video pipe inspection, pinpoint-accurate leak detection, and millimeter-accurate 3D laser scanning data collected by our Project Managers. And the best part is you get a complimentary SiteMap® Personal subscription when GPRS performs a utility locate for you.
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Does SiteMap® work with my existing GIS platform?
SiteMap® allows for exporting of data to SHP, GeoJSON, GeoPackage, and DXF directly from any user’s account that either owns or has a job shared to their account. All these file formats can be imported and utilized by other GIS packages if manually imported by the user. More information can be found at SiteMap.com.