Blackout Fears Overshadow the Eclipse in Texas

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Industry News

Is ERCOT Ready for the Eclipse in Texas?

Is ERCOT Ready for the Eclipse in Texas? The eclipse will cross Texas on Monday. Learn if ERCOT is prepared to keep the grid running plus how you can enjoy this rare celestial show.
Is ERCOT ready for the coming darkenss? Learn if the total eclipse will blackout the Texas grid plus how you can safely watch the moon cover the sun.

Electricity customers need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ERCOT will not blackout when totality darkens Texas on April 8. Sure, the total solar eclipse in Texas will only last a few minutes (4 minutes, 22 seconds, to be precise). However, that means solar plants won’t harvest the sun’s energy during that time. Will this disrupt Texas power disruptions for the state’s energy customers? ERCOT says no. 

Certainly, ERCOT is preparing for the eclipse. As with every other day of the year, the grid regulator monitors which power plants are running at any given time. As solar plants produce less, other types of plants should remain unimpacted by the lack of light. Coal, natural gas, wind, geothermal, and other plants should run like normal. 

In 2022, solar power only made up about 6% of the Texas energy mix. While that share has risen in recent over the past year, solar farms produce nowhere near the volume of fossil fuel plants. The majority of Texas power still comes from natural gas and coal.

So, don’t worry.

Path of the Total Solar Eclipse

Because the population is concentrated in the triangle made up of Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, most Texans live in the total solar eclipse path or can easily drive to it. Some towns have already declared states of emergency as the number of visitors will overwhelm hotels and other public places. Some schools and local government offices are even shutting down for the day.  

Moving northeast across the state, the total solar eclipse path crosses notable towns including Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Fredericksburg, Austin, Waco, Dallas, Tyler, and Texarkana. Houston residents will have to drive to the total solar eclipse path. 

This writer is fortunate to live in the total solar eclipse path. So, I’ll have my eclipse glasses ready around 1:30 p.m. and will make my way over to a treeless patch nearby. If you plan to view the eclipse, make sure you have the proper eye protection. Cheap cardboard glasses seem to be in every grocery store. But, you may have what you need laying around in your garage or shed. A welding helmet shade 12 or stronger is safe for viewing the eclipse. But check to make sure your equipment is dark enough as not all welding helmets and goggles are.  

Observe the Eclipse in Texas

It will be two decades before the US experiences another total solar eclipse. So, get out and observe this one if you can. Gather with community members, or travel to a small town in the path. And while you’re there, you can rest assured ERCOT will keep the lights on even when the moon blocks the sun. 

Our Facebook Page

Recent Posts