Research Commentary: Evaluating the Impact of the Connect the Grid Act for Texas

Audun Botterud, Christopher R. Knittel, John E. Parsons, and Juan Ramon L. Senga

June 2024

Winter Storm Uri in 2021 exposed some of the vulnerabilities of the ERCOT grid. While freezing temperatures resulting in generator outages and derates were the main culprit, the lack of interregional transmission between Texas and its neighbors was also apparent. It meant power couldn’t be transferred from SPP, MISO, and the Western Interconnect in the critical hours where load shed occurred.  To avoid such events from happening again, the Connect the Grid Act (H.R.7348) was proposed in the U.S. Congress to ensure that Texas gains the capability to import electricity, especially during extreme weather events. It would require ERCOT to meet a pre-defined range of interregional transfer capabilities with its three neighbors by 2035. In this research commentary, we summarize the results of current work-in-progress centered around the provisions of the Connect the Grid Act. The intent of this commentary is to contribute to the conversation around the benefits of interconnecting the U.S. – ERCOT in particular – and its role in a more resilient, cleaner, and cost-efficient U.S. grid.