ERCOT Warns of Possible Low Power Reserves Amid Hot Temps

Voltage tower
High voltage tower | Image by Wang An Qi/Shutterstock

The Texas grid operator warned that the surge in hot weather next week might result in emergency conditions due to the potential risk of low power reserves.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) published a notice on Thursday saying that reserve capacity might be limited from May 20 through May 22 as generators go through scheduled maintenance during what is expected to be higher demand due to higher temperatures.

Dallas weather is forecasted to rise above the 90s next week. Monday is expected to see a high of 91 degrees, and temperatures will climb to a high of 92 degrees on Thursday. Wednesday will bring “cooler” temperatures with a high of 86 degrees before temperatures rise back up to the 90s for the weekend.

Earlier this month, ERCOT assured the public that the state’s grid is prepared to take on the heat of the Texas summer, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

“Over 9,000 megawatts of new power supply resources have connected since last summer. And so, what that looks like [is] we’ve got over 5000 megawatts of solar, new solar that’s come on the grid. That’s going to be very helpful for the summer peaks,” said ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas, speaking with KVUE.

“We’ve got over 1,000 megawatts of new wind and about 3,000 megawatts of dispatchable, which includes both batteries and some gas resources as well.”

ERCOT’s summer preliminary report showed that five of the top 10 hottest Texas summers on record have occurred in the last 13 years, and the risk for another record-breaking summer is high.

The grid operator summarized its preliminary weather report by stating, “2024 could easily bring another top 10 hottest-summers to Texas.”

The higher the temperature, the more demand for electricity is placed on generators to allow Texans to crank up the air conditioning. Last summer, ten peak demand records were set for energy consumption, according to ERCOT.

Concerns about ERCOT’s ability to sustain power to all Texas residents have increased in recent years, as more than 10 million Texans lost power in the historical Winter Storm Uri in 2021. Some power outages reportedly lasted for days, as covered by DX.

According to DX, in February, several Texas House Democrats proposed legislation that would connect Texas to the national electrical grid, stripping control from ERCOT in hopes of preventing future mass power outages.

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