ERCOT issues energy conservation request for Thursday, 1 day after energy emergency alert

Chaz Miller Image
Friday, September 8, 2023
How close were we to blackouts on Wednesday night?
After issuing an energy emergency alert as demand nearly outpaced supply, ABC13's Chaz Miller asked how close the power grid to blackouts was.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Once again, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued an energy conservation request, which lasted four hours and expired at 9 p.m. Thursday.

"Operating reserves are expected to be low this afternoon due to continued high temperatures, high demand, low wind, and declining solar power generation," ERCOT wrote on social media.

They also issued one Wednesday, but had to add an emergency alert on top of it around 8 p.m. when conditions in the grid got too tight.

The demand for power at that time was a little less than 2,000 megawatts away from what was actually available.

Dr. Harish Krishnamoorthy, an engineering professor at the University of Houston, said that's not quite as dire as it may seem.

"It was not that bad, to be honest," he said.

He said the remaining available megawatts were enough to power around 200,000 additional homes in the state, but was concerned with how little margin of error there was at that point.

Krishnamoorthy said things like installing more energy-storage systems and creating more backup generation must take place in the future to ensure the grid can handle upcoming summers.

"I think we barely, probably, escaped this summer," he said while warning of hotter temperatures in subsequent summer months.

In addition to the conservation appeal, ERCOT's website states a weather watch is also in place through Sept. 8.

ABC13 reached out to ERCOT for an interview on Thursday, but they said nobody was available.

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