"Texas could be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy," says Andrew Dessler, director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M. "We got rich selling hydrocarbons, but politicians in Texas don’t want to get rich selling electrons.” Renewables have provided an affordable bulwark that has kept the lights and air conditioning functional over the past few months, despite warnings from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages Texas’s independent grid, that rolling blackouts might be needed. But many Texans took steps to save power, with ERCOT paying large customers to scale back peak usage, and with solar setting records. "We’ve got twice the solar we had last summer, and something like three times what we had 18 months ago," says energy consultant Doug Lewin. "Renewables throughout most of May and June, as we’ve been experiencing extreme heat, really were the difference between a whole lot of conservation calls and potential rolling outages and not having them."

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