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Bernard L. Weinstein, The Houston Chronicle Last summer's heat wave pushed Texas' electric power grid to its limit. For example, on August 3, power demand approached 70,000 megawatts, or 96 percent of the state's generating capacity. Had a major plant gone offline that afternoon, many businesses and households would have experienced brownouts or blackouts. Luckily, as a result of voluntary curtailments by large electricity consumers, that did not happen. Summer 2012 has just begun, but ERCOT — the state's grid operator — has already requested large power consumers to reduce electricity usage. In view of last year's record-breaking heat wave and the resulting strain on the power grid, ERCOT will likely issue many more curtailment requests over the next several months. Read More