Drought could impact state’s power plants and economy

Even with recent rains in Central Texas, you can still see the effects of the ongoing drought and the record-setting temperatures from last summer. Remember your high electric bills? And if you’re like me, you struggled to keep your lawn alive and probably had water bills that made you cringe. 

There are more, less obvious effects that you can’t see, but that could have a significant impact on us. Power plants need water to cool their generators, much like your car’s radiator needs water to cool its engine. If your car’s coolant level is low, your car will overheat and you’ll have to slow down or stop until it cools down enough to run safely.

Same principle with power plants. The lakes and reservoirs next to them act as their radiators. Enough water, no problem. But when water levels drop, there isn’t enough to sufficiently cool the power plants and they aren’t able to generate as much electricity. That can be a problem in a state like Texas with an energy-intensive economy, a hot climate and a growing population.

So much of a problem, in fact, that the Texas Senate’s Business and Commerce committee will hold a series of hearings about the drought’s impact on the state’s electric generators and how it could affect the economy. The committee held its first meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10. To read more about the hearings, check out these stories from the Austin American-Statesman and the Texas Tribune.

I will continue to monitor the senate’s hearings and the Texas House’s comparable hearings in its State Affairs committee, the first of which is Thursday, Feb. 9. Keep checking our blog to read more about this important subject.

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About Will Holford

Have you ever wondered about the future of electric use? Perhaps you’re curious about how some global or national events might impact your power, the environment or your bill? Maybe you’re just interested in what’s going on at Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. We want to share what we know, and that’s what the Bluebonnet Blog is about. Will Holford, Bluebonnet’s Manager of Public Affairs, is going to write most often for the blog. He’s been with the co-op since 2007, and has worked in communications for more than 14 years. Will enjoys learning about energy – and writing about it. He and other Bluebonnet employees (and occasional guest contributors) will get the conversation going -- about everything from where your power is generated to where it’s used, advances in technology, changes that will affect you, and interesting peeks behind the scenes at the co-op. We welcome your comments, questions and ideas. Email Will at will.holford@bluebonnet.coop.
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