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Texas Electric Operator ERCOT Warns Of System Pressure, Urges Residents To Stop Blowing Air Conditioner

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The pressure on the grid comes from record demand for electricity amid increasing summer heat and a higher than usual number of forced outages at power plants, the organization said.

“A significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record power usage for the month of June resulted in strained grid conditions,” ERCOT said in a statement.

ERCOT said Monday that owners of power generators reported that about 11,000 megawatts of production are forced out for repairs, including about 8,000 MW of thermal power. That’s significantly higher than on a typical hot summer day, when the range of thermal generation outages is around 3,600 MW, the organization said. Typically, one MW powers around 200 homes on a summer day.

“We will be doing an in-depth analysis with generator owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of network planning and operations. “It’s unusual for this start of the summer season.”

Wind output is also expected to be below normal on Monday, but output is expected to increase as the week progresses, ERCOT said.

While the energy capacity of the system is lower, ERCOT customers simultaneously used record amounts of energy to cool their homes. ERCOT said on Monday that the peak load forecast could exceed 73,000 MW, a total higher than the June peak demand record of 69,123 MW set in 2018.

the Fort Worth National Weather Service warned of a hot day Tuesday with temperatures forecast in the mid to high 90s. The heatwave is expected to last through Friday.
ERCOT said last month that he anticipated record demand for electricity this summer due to hot, dry conditions and the region’s economic and population growth. This trend is expected to continue in the years to come, as man-made climate change results in more extreme heat waves in Texas. A Report 2020 Texas state climatologist concluded that the number of 100-degree days there will double by 2036.

ERCOT asks residents to save energy

ERCOT has asked residents of Texas to set their thermostat to 78 degrees or higher; turn off pool lights and pumps and avoid using large appliances; and turn off and unplug unused electrical appliances.

The advice is quite similar to California’s recommendations last summer during its own heat wave. At the time, US Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, attacked California conservation calls as representative of an “energy policy train wreck.”
Here's how a week of freezing weather and disaster unfolded in Texas
“It’s hot all over Texas every summer, but the rest of the country doesn’t have such a dysfunctional state government that you can’t turn on the lights or run the air conditioning. It’s a political failure of the Democrats,” he said then.
The strain on the power grid this week comes four months after ERCOT suffered catastrophic system outages during a massive winter storm in February. The unusually cold weather froze wind turbines, severely limited natural gas supplies, and slammed coal and nuclear power plants, all the while causing increased demand for heating from customers.
The problems caused ERCOT to cut off the power of millions of people for days, causing more than 100 deaths, the majority of which were from hypothermia. Subsequently, five members of ERCOT’s board of directors resigned and its CEO was fired.
Texas, the largest energy producer in the United States, relies on its own power grid separate from the two main grids that serve the rest of the United States. Energy demand typically peaks in the late afternoon and early evening, depending on ERCOT forecasts.

After the winter storm in February, energy experts and Republican politicians in the state noted that the system was put in place to handle the hottest days of summer rather than freezing winter storms. Now that too is being put to the test.



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