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ERCOT Issues Weather Watch, Texas Power Grid At Risk Amid Rising Temps

ERCOT has issued a Weather Watch for this Wednesday, warning that the Texas power grid may have lower reserves of electricity supply amid forecasted high temperatures.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said “high levels of expected maintenance outages” combined with unseasonably high temperatures could result in lower reserves. 

However, ERCOT assured that grid conditions are expected to be normal during the Weather Watch and that there is no request for conservation at this time.

Typically in the spring and fall, many fossil-fueled power plants are shut down for maintenance as mild weather helps reduce electricity demand. These plants are required to perform this mandatory maintenance, but a few times this spring, ERCOT has asked plant owners to postpone maintenance due to high temperatures.

In spring and summer, the most challenging hours for the grid are around sunset, when solar capacity drops but electricity demand remains largely the same. In hot weather, more Texans use air conditioning during this time, putting pressure on the grid.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the temperatures in Houston could rise into the 90s, and some forecasts say that Austin could approach that number too.

This summer could be one of the hottest in Texas history. Reuters reported that scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that this year has one-in-three chances of being even hotter than 2023 and a 99 percent of ranking among the top five hottest summers on record. 2023 was the hottest year since the records began in 1850.

Hotter summers could put even more stress on the Texas grid, but ERCOT hasn’t issued a warning. Earlier this week, however, ERCOT asked San Antonio’s largest electricity users to voluntarily reduce their consumption in exchange for a payment. The move was in preparation for the hot summer and to avoid blackouts.

Written by RA News staff.


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