Texas Power Grid Operator Struggles to Provide Power in Heat, Just As It Did in Cold

ERCOT Control Room (Photo: ERCOT)
File Photo: ERCOT

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) called for Texans to conserve electricity on Monday afternoon.  For the second time this year, the council blamed “a significant number of forced generation outages” and record demand for the “tight grid conditions” that are expected to last until Friday, June 18.

ERCOT officials reported 11,000 MW of power generation being forced offline due to repairs. This equates to power for approximately 2.2 million homes, according to information obtained from ERCOT on Monday. The 11,000 MW of lost power generation compares to an average hot summer day’s outs of approximately 3,600 MW.

“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson said in a written statement. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”

ERCOT’s chart shows the demand and capacity lines nearly colliding at about 2 p.m. on Monday. At that point, demand began to fall and capacity remained stable.

Demand vs Capacity chart from ERCOT website.

Demand vs Capacity chart from ERCOT website.

Texas Sports Reporter Matt Stepp called out ERCOT for not being able to provide reliable electricity in both the cold of winter and the heat of summer.

In February, millions of Texans lost electrical power for days and record cold temperatures blanketed the Lone Star State, Breitbart Texas reported. Now, as temperatures approached or exceeded the century mark across most of the state, ERCOT’s grid does not appear to be up to the task.

ERCOT’s Warren Lasher, senior director of systems planning did not appear to have an explanation for this week’s anticipated shortages in power production.

“I don’t have any potential reasons [for the plant outages] that I can share at this time,” Lasher told the Texas Tribune. “It is not consistent with fleet performance that we have seen over the last few summers.”

He quickly shifted the blame to power producers, saying, “We operate the grid with the resources that we have available. It’s the responsibility of the generators to make sure their plants are available when demand is high.”

Demand is high. On Monday, the demand for energy from the ERCOT grid was expected to exceed 73,000 MW. The previous peak demand was reported to be 69,123 MW on June 27, 2018, ERCOT reported.

Between now and Friday, ERCOT officials recommend the following:

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher – every degree of cooling increases your energy use by six to eight percent.
  • Turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dryers.
  • If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible.

Consumers can find more information about the demand and supply factors on the council’s website, www.ercot.com.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.

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