ERCOT takes precautionary grid stability measures

5 September 2023

ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, operates the electrical grid, the Texas Interconnection, which supplies power to more than 90 % of the state's electrical load.

For a week, beginning on 24 August, operating reserves for ERCOT were expected to be low during the afternoon and evening each day, typically from 3 pm to 9 pm, owing to a high level of unexpected thermal generation outages and forecast low wind generation. As a result, ERCOT asked all consumers in the state to conserve electricity use, if safe to do so, during the affected period. And it requested all government agencies (including city and county offices) to implement all programmes available for reducing energy use at their facilities.

Consumers were asked to ‘stay tuned’ for additional communications, as the Council continued to continue to monitor conditions throughout each day.

ERCOT emphasised that its conservation appeals did not indicate immediate emergency conditions, although it conceded that its forecasts suggested there was the potential to enter emergency operations during the evening on some days. 

ERCOT continued to use additional tools to manage the grid, including reserve power, calling upon reductions by large electric customers that have volunteered to lower their energy use, and bringing more generation online sooner. ERCOT is also working with out-of-state Independent System Operators and Market participants to obtain additional power generation capacity. It has also requested Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) enforcement discretion, which allows a generator to extend its service/run-time/operations to help meet demand, if needed, and maintain grid reliability.

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