ERCOT report predicts 12% chance of rolling outages on August nights with low wind production

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024
ERCOT says rolling outages possible later this summer
ABC13 is pressing for answers from Texas' grid operator amid reports that the state could encounter rolling outages in August.

ERCOT, the power operator for the state of Texas, has issued a warning, saying that we could see rolling power outages in August.

According to ERCOT's new report released on June 7, 2024, Texans face an estimated 12% chance of controlled outages on August nights when wind production is low.

The agency adds that the grid would be most stressed between 8 and 9 p.m., leaving a 16% chance for a grid emergency.

"What stood out that people care about is that around 9 p.m., anywhere from 8 to 9 on evenings in August, that we have this higher chance of potentially having a shortfall. That can be conservation or some sort of rotating outage," David Kinchen, the COO of Energy Ogre, said.

Still, it seems that's the message Texans hear every summer. So ABC13 asked, why can't ERCOT get it together?

"Remember, they are the grid authority. They are there to facilitate the grid and make sure it's reliable. They make sure it's running efficiently, then set a price command. They can put a forecast, but it's up to merchants," Kinchen said.

As for whether anyone can expect anything different this summer compared to our prior summers, Kinchen said it's going to be very similar.

"We are going to see a bunch of weather notices, weather alerts, saying, 'Hey, there's going to be a hot day, there might be tightness on the grid.' We might get conservation notices as well," Kinchen said.

ABC13 reached out to ERCOT and received the following statement.

"At this time, the grid is operating under normal conditions. ERCOT continues a reliability-first approach to grid operations and will continue to operate the grid conservatively, bringing generating resources online early to mitigate sudden changes in generation or demand. See the August MORA overview for additional information on summer months planning.

The ERCOT region is forecasted to experience tremendous electric demand growth in the next 5-7 years, which is driving the need for ERCOT to adapt and plan differently for the future. ERCOT's New Era of Planning focuses on ensuring all areas of system planning - from generation and load interconnections to transmission development - can adapt to better serve the needs of the rapidly growing Texas economy.

ERCOT will continue to use all operational tools available, including implementation of programs, like the ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service (ECRS) -launched in June 2023-- as well as executing legislative reforms (like summer and winter weatherization inspections. Since 2021, ERCOT, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and the Texas Legislature have worked to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the ERCOT grid. ERCOT has implemented many reforms and grid improvements since 2021, including weatherization inspections of electric generation units and transmission facilities, and additional ancillary services."

The agency told ABC13 it expects to make it through June and July without much issue.