The Texas A&M University System took its first steps toward creating a peaker power network on land it owns across the state to help stabilize the Texas power grid during peak demand.

A map showing potential locations for "peaker plants"
around the state of Texas. Texas A&M University is
seeking to use university-owned land to build power
plants that activate during times of peak energy
(courtesy Texas A&M University)

Peaker power plants, also known simply as “peakers,” are power plants typically used to provide electricity during periods of peak demand. They are an essential component of modern electricity grids, providing a reliable source of power during periods of high demand.

On Tuesday, the A&M System asked private developers to submit their proposals for building peakers on A&M System-owned property with financing through the newly-created $5 billion Texas Energy Fund.

The Texas Energy Fund came about after the blackouts of Winter Storm Uri.  

It was created by Senate Bill 2627,  and voters approved a constitutional amendment creating the Texas Energy Fund this past November.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said that this will help ensure their campuses and their local communities never go dark again, while adding power to help ensure all of Texas is protected.

According to Sharp, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of research were lost during Winter Storm Uri in 2021, when blackouts shut down power to labs and refrigerators across Texas.

Peaker power plants are designed to prevent blackouts by operating only during times of high electricity demand, such as hot summer days when air conditioning use spikes, or during major events that require significant energy consumption.

They are not meant to run continuously but to be activated quickly when needed to stabilize the grid. They would only run a few days each year.

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