Potential for Reducing Electrical Grid Carbon Emissions in Texas, a White Paper

Updated: Oct 12

“As grids move towards incorporating higher levels of intermittent resources, such as wind and solar, flexible demand will play an ever more important role in keeping the electrical grid system stable.” – Joshua D. Rhodes, Ph.D.


Rendering of Lancium Clean Computing Campus - Source: Lancium

Houston-based Lancium, a technology company focused on the energy transition, announced on Thursday, October 7, 2021, the release of a company-sponsored report titled “Impact of Large, Flexible Data Center Operations on the Future of ERCOT.” The report assessed the carbon emissions tradeoffs of additional data center operations on an electrical grid, specifically the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid. ERCOT manages the grid supplying electric power to more than 26 million Texans, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the state’s electric load.


According to the press release, the paper’s analysis concluded the following:


- Adding data center load to electrical grids incentivizes more wind and solar power to be built than a base case of no flexible data centers.


- Operating flexible data centers that can rapidly vary their load can result in a net reduction of carbon emissions.


- Higher levels of flexible demand response result in a lower probability of the grid reaching critical levels of reserves that would require firm load shed (i.e., blackouts).


- Siting such centers in power-congested locations with historically depressed prices can decrease congestion and the need to build new transmission capacity, reducing overall system costs.


- Net CO2 reduction could exceed four million tons per annum by 2030.


“The paper outlines the case that large-scale solutions are required to enable the continued growth of renewable energy,” stated Lancium CEO Michael McNamara in the press release. “Lancium Controllable Load Resources (CLRs) act like large power stations in reverse by absorbing abundant renewable energy, while simultaneously providing grid ancillary services. This paper shows that such an approach can reduce costs, enable the growth of renewable energy, provide low-cost power, and have an impact on climate change.”


The authors used 2018 as a baseline year for the analysis. All data used in the analysis is based on public ERCOT reports.


The white paper was funded by Lancium and authored by Joshua D. Rhodes, Ph.D., Thomas Deetjen, Ph.D., and affiliate Caitlin Smith of IdeaSmiths LLC.


Lancium is a technology company creating software and intellectual property solutions that enable more renewable energy on the grid. Lancium’s products include Lancium Smart Response™ for rapid server power management and Lancium Compute™, a high-throughput computing application platform. Lancium’s solution