Samsung workers in clean room gear walking down a corridor at a semiconductor fabrication plant

Samsung workers at a semiconductor fabrication plant [Photo courtesy of Samsung]

A heat wave in Texas took at least six power plants offline Friday with high temperatures forecasted to blaze throughout this week.

A record cold snap in February 2021 took NXP Semiconductors and Samsung chip fabrication facilities offline for weeks, contributing to a global semicondcutor shortage that is still throttling medical device production.

There’s no indication yet that the power grid’s latest struggles will reduce or stop semiconductor production, but the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has asked residents to curb their electricity use ahead of more heat.

“With unseasonably hot weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the power industry to make sure Texans have the power they need,” ERCOT Interim CEO Brad Jones said in a news release.

Medical Design & Outsourcing has requested more information from ERCOT, Samsung and NXP and will update this story when they respond.

Samsung plans to open a second Texas semiconductor fab in Taylor, near Samsung’s chip fab in Austin. The new plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2024.

When announcing the new facility in November, Samsung said it considered at least one other U.S. location but picked Taylor due to its proximity to the Austin plant as well as “the local semiconductor ecosystem, infrastructure stability, local government support and community development opportunities.”

The $17 billion project is South Korea-based Samsung’s largest investment in the U.S., the company said.

“With greater manufacturing capacity, we will be able to better serve the needs of our customers and contribute to the stability of the global semiconductor supply chain,” Samsung Electronics Device Solutions Division Head Dr. Kinam Kim said in the news release announcing the project.

That same month, Texas Instruments — which also makes semiconductors for the medtech industry — announced plans to build and open two semiconductor fabs in Sherman, north of Dallas. Production at the first fab is expected to start as early as 2025, and the project site could eventually have up to four new fabs at a cost of $30 billion.

Dallas-based Texas Instruments already has a fab in operation in Dallas and two expected to come online this year in Richardson, Texas.

Netherlands-based NXP has two fabs in Austin and is considering a $2.6 billion expansion there, the Austin-American Statesman reported last week. Operations could start as soon as 2026.