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    Texas energy regulator asks consumers to conserve


Unusual number of generator outages is straining the grid, ERCOT says

by: Dale Lunan

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Texas energy regulator asks consumers to conserve

Barely four months removed from Winter Storm Uri’s record cold and its impact on the state’s power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked residents on June 14 to conserve power for the remainder of the week, as an “unusually high” number of forced generation outages strained the grid.

Woody Rickerson, ERCOT’s vice president, grid planning and operations, said generator owners have reported about 11,000 MW of generation is on forced outage for repairs. About 8,000 MW of that is thermal – natural gas, oil or coal – while the rest is from intermittent sources, generally wind or solar.

“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” Rickerson said. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”

According to generation owners, the number of outages should decrease through the week, he added, but ERCOT is still asking Texans to reduce their power consumption “as much as possible” through the rest of this week.

Wind output is expected to average between 3,500 MW and 6,000 MW between 3 pm CDT and 6 pm this afternoon, ERCOT said. That’s about 1,500 MW less than what is typically available during the afternoon-evening peak.

The peak load forecast for today may exceed 73,000 MW, ERCOT said, compared to the peak June demand of 69,123 MW set between 4 pm and 5 pm on June 27, 2018.

At 1:20 CDT pm today, demand on the Texas grid was 68,335 MW, ERCOT data shows, while the operating reserve was just 3,010 MW.