AUSTIN, Texas (AP) â Texas Senate Democrats worried Tuesday that continued drought could lead to brownouts and keep major firms from expanding statewide because of fears about an unreliable power grid.
A growing population has left state planners rushing to approve coal-fired power plants, expand nuclear facilities, create more wind power, build transmission lines and extract natural gas to meet rising demand. But vast amounts of water are often necessary to generate electricity â an increasingly complicated prospect for a state still struggling through what has already been the worst single-year drought in its history.
Trip Doggett, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, told a meeting of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce that the lack of rainfall is already impacting electricity generation but that it's not likely to cause significant power shortfalls through the end of this year. Should the drought continue into 2013, however, its impact on energy generation could be more severe, he said.
While power plants require a lot of water to generate electricity, most of it is simply heated up and then returned to the environment. John Fainter, president of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas, said facilities that generate electricity only account for about 3 percent of the state's water use. (Read more...)