Albertans aren’t alone when it comes to concerns over freezing in the dark.Millions of Texans awoke from the Martin Luther King holiday on Tuesday to warnings from the state’s system operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), to reduce power usage between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. local time to avoid blackouts.It comes as temperatures plunged below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18C) across much of the state in cities such as Austin, Dallas and San Antonio that were the scene of a crippling grid failure in 2021 blamed for the deaths of more than 240 people.It’s become a cautionary tale for jurisdictions switching from base load fossil fuels to greater proportions of interment — and unreliable — wind and solar. Texas’ warning is eerily similar to warnings north of the 49th parallel last weekend after the Alberta Electric System Operator issued four grid alerts — including an emergency warning on Saturday — in four days. On Monday, Alberta Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf called it a “perfect storm” that underscores the need for additional base load backup."It was a learning experience," Neudorf told reporters in Edmonton on Monday. "Hopefully, we won't have that experience again.".South of the border, only 25,000 of Texas’ 13.3 million customers were without power, according to poweroutage.us that tracks US utilities. That was alongside an additional 21,000 residents in neighbouring Louisiana who went without basic services such as water during the same cold snap in 2021.As in Alberta, winter mornings are particularly taxing on the Texas grid, which has some of the highest proportions of renewable wind and solar in the Lower 48. That’s when temperatures are at their lowest, wind is often negligible and the sun isn’t strong enough to power solar panels.In addition, Texas — which is a major natural gas producer — experiences ‘freeze offs’ on gas wells in the absence of similar equipment in colder regions such as Alberta and Northeastern BC.Texas is also unique in that it isn’t connected to any other state via inter-ties. It was a deliberate attempt to avoid being subject to federal and interstate regulation, although it does have a small connection to Mexico. .Earlier this month, ERCOT gained federal and state approvals to build a connection to Mississippi, although it won’t come into service for several years.In 2021 it all added up to a perfect storm that left millions stranded and shivering in the dark. Despite grid improvements to prevent a reoccurrence, an ERCOT supply forecast estimated a 1-in-6 chance of rolling blackouts occurring around 8 a.m. if temperatures were to fall as low as they did then.But it’s not just Texas. On Tuesday 52,000 customers in Oregon were without power and it has only 1.7 million customers.“Significant transmission upgrades may be required to support the full import deliverability capabilities of the proposed DC ties, and all other DC ties that are in existence today in the ERCOT system,” Texas’ Public Utility Commission said in a November regulatory filing.