Op-ed: Texas grid failure highlights need for hydrogen power solutions

March 22, 2021

The search for solutions from February’s freeze that left millions of Texas residents without power and water is only just beginning, as business, government and community leaders dissect what went wrong.

While much of the discussion to date has focused on weatherization of power plants and better coordination of the gas and electric industries, Texas is fortunate to have a number of other tools which can supplement these strategies.

Before the blackout, many recognized the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ power grid as perhaps one of the most innovative in the world, and many of those innovations can help to address grid resilience needs. ERCOT has more than 6 million smart meters deployed, a growing pipeline of energy storage projects and is home to large, sophisticated customers who can more actively manage their power usage. All of these strategies should be tools in the grid reliability arsenal.

But, as we strengthen the electrical grid against adverse weather and other potential crisis events, we should also consider a new tool in the form of hydrogen — the most abundant element on Earth. It is perhaps uniquely suited to offer versatile, long duration, low-carbon energy storage solutions which can enhance resiliency, flexibility and reliability in power generation.

Houston, according to the Center’s research, has all of the ingredients to lead in the development of hydrogen as a solution not only to a more reliable grid but also to transform our city into a low-carbon energy hub. Along the Houston Ship Channel, we produce more than a third of the hydrogen U.S. supply, have over half of the nation’s hydrogen pipelines and have companies with the knowledge and expertise to reposition hydrogen as a solution to our grid reliability issues.

Existing hydrogen technologies allow it to store energy long-term, supplement intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar, and serve as a low or no-carbon back-up power supply.

Continue reading the op-ed here.

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