Tag Archives: conserve

Gov. Greg Abbott downplays electric grid concerns as Texans are told to conserve

Gov. Greg Abbott downplays electric grid concerns as Texans are told to conserve

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday downplayed concerns about the reliability of the Texas electric grid while millions continue to be told to conserve energy because of unexpected outages and demand.

“Everyone who has been trying to make a big deal about the power grid over the past two days, I have found were the same people who called me a neanderthal when I opened Texas 100%,” Abbott said during a press conference on his plan to build a wall along Texas’ southern border with Mexico. “They were hoping that there would be a power failure.”

While the request from ERCOT that Texans reduce their energy consumption during peak times — 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — through Friday caused many to see flashbacks of February’s extreme winter storm, Abbott said the announcement was the first example that communication has improved since then.

He added that reforms made by the state legislature to the electric grid – like requiring electricity providers to prepare for extreme weather – will take time to implement.

“I can tell you for a fact, as we’re sitting here today, the energy grid in Texas is better today than it’s ever been,” Abbott said.

Gov. Greg Abbott downplays electric grid concerns as Texans are told to conserve
This image shows the inside of ERCOT’s control room located in Taylor, TX. The control room operators monitor energy levels inside Texas’ power grid around the clock. (Courtesy: ERCOT)

ERCOT briefed members of the Texas House Wednesday morning about the issues facing the grid this week. The unexpected failure of thermal generation plants, less wind power generation than projected, and higher demand for power led to the call for conservation, according to state Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat, who was on the call.

Howard said the state legislature took important steps to improving the electric grid in the legislative session that concluded last month but said lawmakers have yet to address fluctuating market prices and the need to weatherize natural gas providers.

Less than a week before ERCOT would issue its conservation warning, Abbott announced that “everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”

“We have much more to do and just about anybody else who’s been involved with this will say that,” Howard said.

Terry Hillis, a retired Leander man, typically stays out of politics – he’s locked in on ERCOT developments.

“For anyone to stand up and say, ‘well, we really don’t have a problem,’ it’s crazy! Of course we have a problem,” he said.

Author: John Engel
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

ERCOT asks Texans to conserve power, but says outages not expected as it nears emergency conditions

ERCOT asks Texans to conserve power, but says outages not expected as it nears emergency conditions

The state’s main power grid operator asked Texans to conserve power Tuesday afternoon and into the evening as the electricity grid is barely keeping up with the demand for electricity.

But the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it does not expect customer outages like those caused in February.

The tight conditions for the grid are being caused by a stalled cold front over Texas, combined with a high number of energy-producing plants being offline for maintenance.

“This emergency declaration allows us to access tools that will bring supply and demand back into line,” Woody Rickerson, an ERCOT vice president, said in a statement.

Maintenance outages are very common during the spring and fall. Those outages are higher than usual right now, a spokesperson told the Tribune early Tuesday, due to additional repairs necessary from the February winter storm.

A spokesperson for ERCOT was not immediately available to comment Tuesday afternoon.

Data from ERCOT showed that the current demand for energy on the grid was near 49,000 megawatts at 5 p.m., when the available supply to the grid was about 50,000 megawatts. That’s much less than the peak demand it neared during February, about 72,000 megawatts, when energy use surpassed record levels as Texans tried to stay warm during a severe winter storm.

But ERCOT said a significant chunk of its generation is currently down due to maintenance. Approximately 33,000 megawatts of generation was offline earlier this week, according to an ERCOT spokesperson.

The supply and demand for power must remain balanced on electricity grids at all times. Asking Texans to conserve power is among the first steps the grid operator takes in order to bring it back in balance.

While maintenance repairs are common this time of year, experts said the amount of outages was still significant.

“It borders the edge of reasonable,” Beth Garza, director of ERCOT’s independent watchdog from 2014 to 2019, told the Tribune.

Erin Douglas and Mitchell Ferman
This article originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed