ERCOT issues 2nd conservation appeal this week amid tight grid conditions

Lileana Pearson Image
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
ERCOT issues conservation appeal Wednesday amid tight grid conditions
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Texans are being asked to cut back on their energy use on Wednesday due to the ongoing, intense heat and tight grid conditions, according to ERCOT.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is asking Texans to conserve energy for the second day in a row this week, due to scorching temperatures across the state.

ERCOT's conservation appeal has been issued for Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"Current forecasts are showing a potential to enter emergency operations this evening because of a high level of unexpected thermal generation outages and forecasted low wind generation," the agency said.

ERCOT also issued a conservation appeal on Tuesday and last week due to tight grid conditions, including a six-hour appeal issued on Friday.

The agency said it avoided emergency operations on Tuesday after Texas residents and businesses followed the conversation appeal. ERCOT said the effort from Texans, combined with wind improvements and additional grid reliability tools, made all the difference.

"Similar to (Tuesday), (Wednesday's) conservation appeal does not indicate ERCOT is experiencing emergency conditions at this time," the agency said, reassuring.

The conservation advisories come after Houstonians were asked to voluntarily limit outdoor water usage due to the ongoing intense heat and lack of significant rainfall across Houston and the surrounding areas.

ABC13 reached out to ERCOT to answer your questions about grid reliability, but the agency would not make someone available.

Eyewitness News asked when someone would be made available, and was sent the following email, "We will reach out to you if there is an interview opportunity."

Energy Ogre works with consumers to find the best energy provider for their homes and businesses.

ABC13 was able to talk to Energy Ogre's chief operating officer, David Kinchen, who said he expects energy conservation notices to be winding down for the year.

"The weather is getting better, so we are kind of moving out of this summer. The question is: Are we going to have a really hot summer next year?" Kinchen said.

Eyewitness News also asked ERCOT to tell us what improvements they've made to combat the extreme summers. The agency said they would not, instead sending a list of what makes them reliable, such as doing routine maintenance, keeping extra natural gas stores, and improving communications.

Kinchen was able to give more details on improvements scheduled to be made to the grid for next year.

"We're adding in options to help with the hottest, hottest part of the day. We're going to add 4,000 to 5,000 more megawatts a day of solar, so when you're looking at a day like today, where you need 78,000, 79,000 thousand megawatts, is a lot of generation to add," Kinchen said.

According to ERCOT's website, one megawatt of energy powers 200 Texas homes during peak demand. So, the addition of 5,000 megawatts would power one million Texas homes during periods of peak demand.

It's needed improvements for a grid system likely spent after a long, hot summer.

You can always check grid conditions on the ERCOT website.

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