AUSTIN (Nexstar) – On Tuesday, the Texas Electrical Reliability Council, alongside the Texas Public Utilities Commission, provided an overview of how the state’s power grid plans to perform this summer, in more to inform the public of current grid conditions after asking Texans to save energy over the weekend.
PUC Commissioner Peter Lake and ERCOT CEO Brad Jones both said they are confident in how our network is doing heading into the summer, even with a new record demand that should be established.
Lake said that was partly due to reforms implemented by lawmakers over the past year, in addition to generation capacity being added to the grid.
“We will have 7,000 megawatts of solar power, we will have another 2 to 3,000 megawatts of wind generation and about 1,000 megawatts of natural gas generation. So you can see it’s coming from a broad spectrum, but a lot of that extra generation is coming from the renewable side,” Jones explained.
The power grid has also increased its reserve margins.
“Two years ago, we had 12%. Last year we had 15-16%. And this year, we have 23% reserves. So you can see that our reserves have increased in each of these years, we are very confident in our position this summer,” Jones explained.
“I know the lights will stay on because of all the reforms we have put in place. And because when we encounter challenges, as we saw last weekend, the multiple reforms are complementary and build on each other to create even greater reliability,” Lake explained.
Last Friday, ERCOT posted a message about current grid conditions, explaining that six electric generators had tripped offline and asking Texans to conserve power.
“We’re asking Texans to save energy when they can by setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and avoiding the use of large appliances (such as dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers). laundry) during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekends,” the statement read in part.
ERCOT clarified on Tuesday that this is not an official Emergency Conservation Alert, although the language used is very similar to previous Conservation Alerts that have been issued, such as this one in September 2019:
“Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity consumption… Steps to help reduce electricity consumption: Turn off unnecessary lights and equipment. Raise the thermostat 2-3 degrees during peak hours from 2-7 p.m. Set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home.
On Tuesday, ERCOT pledged to make the language of future requests clearer.
“We are reviewing this communication that we have put out and making sure that we have refined this language. It was not a conservation alert, it was not a conservation call. It was just a request to the Texans to help us out this weekend. So it wasn’t at all that we were in a dangerous situation, it was to make sure that we were doing everything we could to maintain the reliability of the network. So we need to improve this language. And we’re committed to that,” Jones said.
The request, however, Lake says, was a proactive effort.
“This time, we did not wait for the emergency to request conservation. Two, three years ago, that would not have been the case. It’s part of ERCOT and the PUC needs to be more proactive, more communicative with the Texans,” Lake added.
Jones also said state agencies could also have been more forthcoming once grid conditions improve.
“I think it would be good for us to have a communication at the end of one of these cycles to make sure that we respond, that everyone knows where we are and that we kind of give feedback. information about the response. And as I mentioned earlier, we saw about three or 400 megawatts of response from Texas. And that’s a big number for us to see,” Jones explained, thanking the Texans who tried to hold on.
According to the ERCOT website, regular network operating conditions are considered “normal conditions”. When there is a risk of reliability, that is when the state will issue a conservation alert.
Energy emergencies can be declared, starting with Energy Emergency Level 1, when the grid will attempt to draw on other power sources, Energy Emergency Level 2, when conservation alerts would be issued, and energy emergency level 3, which means that power cuts are in progress.