How Vernon, Texas Almost Ruined the Texas Electrical Grid
We always hear about Texas having it's own electrical grid. Today I learned, it has been connected to other states, even other countries in emergency situations.
ERCOT Says Things Aren't Looking Good for Texas Electric Grid
^I swear we could write a story like this every week and we had one just the other day on the upcoming winter. I decided to see if Texas was able to connect to the national grid in an emergency situation and it turns out. Texas once provided power to Oklahoma, which almost changed Texas' independent grid forever.
May 4th, 1976 Vernon, Texas
When it comes to college football, Texas and Oklahoma hate each other. However, a Texas electric company helped out Oklahoma for a few hours and it happened just north of us in Vernon. People think of Texas as all by itself on the grid, but back in the day they were interconnected in some parts to other parts of the country. So power was provided from Vernon, Texas to Altus, Oklahoma for a few hours.
The Infamous "Midnight Connection" Almost Ruined Electric Independence
Basically this was to show that Oklahoma could connect to another electrical grid without any issues. The problem? Well, Texas was not subject to federal regulations because they had their own grid. Since they were now connected to another grid, they could be subject to federal regulations from the United States government. This legal battle raged on for years, but Texas was allowed to remain independent. However, this incident almost put Texas on the national grid forever.
Big Misconception, Not All of Texas is on the ERCOT Grid
As you can see above, not all of Texas is on the independent grid. About 90% of the state is though. The most major city not on the grid would be El Paso, Texas. I learned today that we did once import electricity from somewhere else not in Texas, though.
Mexico to the Rescue!
Back in 2011, Texas had a huge ice storm. This lead to a huge surge in electrical demand. On February 2nd, 2011 until the morning hours of February 3rd, 2011 Texas electrical grid was getting 280 megawatts of electricity from Mexico. Yes, the other country Mexico and not the state New Mexico. Mexico was also dealing with a high electrical demand due to the winter storm and provided power for a few hours to Texas. So it is possible in an emergency situation to get power from outside of Texas.
Just something I found interesting today where Texas once provided power to another state and we also got power from somewhere else. People think of Texas as all by itself, but I guess technically at certain points in time. It was connected.
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Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi