ERCOT – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas – mindful of the chaos created last winter in the wake of unusually severe storms, has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterisation efforts, and inspection results show the independently-owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather. Inspections were completed at more than 300 electric generation units, representing 85 % of the megawatt hours lost during winter storm Uri due to outages and damage to 22 transmission stations.
ERCOT has filed a preliminary summary inspection report with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and will submit its final inspection report on January 18, 2022 for review and any potential enforcement action. Earlier this year the Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherisation rules to $1 million per day, per violation.
“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterised and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, vp of Grid Planning and Weatherisation at ERCOT. “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterisation improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”
ERCOT does not own or operate any electric generation units or electric power lines, but it is responsible for balancing electric supply and demand on an electric grid that serves more than 26 million Texans, which represent about 90 % of the state’s electricity demand.
Of the 302 generation resources inspected, some generators had exceeded PUC winterisation requirements. Only ten had items identified as requiring correction. For example, a generation unit may have needed a windscreen to be compliant, but it was not yet installed on the day of inspection. Many items like this have now been completed since the inspection occurred and all ten units, which together represent about 2129 MW of capacity, about 1.7% of the total ERCOT fleet, are now operational.
Of the 22 transmission station facilities inspected, ERCOT found that six had potential identified deficiencies, most of which have already been corrected. These were generally minor items, such as cabinet heaters out of service or missing weather stripping on cabinet doors.
ERCOT and its contractors have spent more than 3600 hours on these inspection-related activities to date. Follow-up inspections on the facilities with potential identified issues will be conducted in due course.