Aug. 24–A report from Texas’ grid operator shows that power use in the booming Permian Basin oil field of West Texas is growing exponentially faster than the rest of the state.
As oil and gas activity has expanded in the region its power use grew by 8 percent a year between 2012 and 2017, compared to 1 percent for the overall system overseen by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.
The increased use led ERCOT to endorse nearly $600 million of transmission projects in 2016 and 2017 to serve the area and reduce congestion in the existing power lines, which can cause stress to the grid.
At the beginning of 2012 there were 477 oil and gas rigs operating in the Permian Basin, growing to a peak of 566 by the end of Nov. 2014, right before the industry suffered the worst downturn in 30 years. The rig count fell drastically through May 2016 to 134 drilling rigs but by the end of 2017 it had recovered to 398 rigs. There are 486 drilling rigs active in the Permian Basin, according to the Houston oil services company Baker Hughes.
ERCOT said in a report released in July that power use in West Texas increased by nearly 250 megawatts over the previous year due to increased oil and gas activity. The grid operator, which covers 90 percent of Texas’ load and 25 million customers, said that on May 10 power use in West Texas broke 3,400 megawatts for the first time ever. A megawatt can power 200 homes during peak demand.
(c)2018 the San Antonio Express-News
Visit the San Antonio Express-News at www.mysanantonio.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.