Tell Texas Lawmakers: We need a more resilient energy system

This emergency has made one thing all too clear: our energy system is fragile. Extreme weather and aging infrastructure threaten our access to basic services like drinking water and electricity. To prevent it from getting worse, we need to fix three key vulnerabilities in our current energy system:

First, we should produce more of our power locally, and redesign the grid so that problems in one area are less likely to cause outages far, far away. Rooftop solar, energy storage technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles and community "microgrids" all have a role to play. Rooftop solar panels can be a difference-maker in extreme weather because they produce energy very close to where we use it. Meanwhile, more batteries in our garages, basements or for that matter in our electric vehicles allow us to store energy for later. Local energy generation also allows us to actually use much more of the power we produce, since at least 67 percent of power we generate from fossil fuel power plants is lost through escaped heat.

Second, we need to use less energy in the first place. Energy efficiency improvements can reduce stress on the grid at times of high demand, and better-insulated homes, schools and offices are more comfortable in any weather. Senate Bill 243 (Eckhardt) would cut energy waste by requiring utilities to hit energy-saving targets by helping their customers use power more wisely. State leaders should support this legislation.

Third, reinforce our ability to share electricity across the country. Texas' stand-alone grid left it unable to receive sufficient help from other parts of the country as its own power plants were going offline. We need to expand transmission to bring power from other states -- and even other parts of Texas. During this crisis power was available in south Texas could have helped other regions in the state if we just had the ability to transport it. HB 1607 from Rep. Drew Darby (San Angelo) would help by expediting new transmission construction within the state.

Please join us in calling on our elected officials to modernize to a cleaner, safer, more resilient energy system.