Final Winterization Report: Texas Grid Ready for Winter Weather Operations

 

AUSTIN, TX, Jan. 18, 2022 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) today filed its final winter weatherization readiness report of the season with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. The report shows 321 out of 324 electric generation units and transmission facilities fully passed inspection for new winterization regulations from the Commission.

 

“The Texas electric grid is more prepared for winter operations than ever before,” said Interim ERCOT CEO Brad Jones.

 

ERCOT conducted onsite inspections at 302 electric generation units during December, representing 85 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities. Three resources have been identified for further review but remain operational. They represent approximately 0.4 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet.

 

“We are confident these 321 inspected facilities either meet or go beyond the new requirements from the Commission and we will continue to work with the other 3 facilities to ensure they correct remaining deficiencies,” said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT Vice President of System Planning and Weatherization.  “Our teams spent thousands of hours preparing for and conducting these 324 on-site inspections to ensure the electric grid is prepared for winter.”

 

Results as of January 17, 2022: 324 ERCOT On-Site Inspections

at 302 Generation Facilities and 22 Transmission Facilities

 

Generation Units, all deficiencies cleared

Generation Units with remaining deficiencies

Transmission Facilities, all deficiencies cleared

Transmission Facilities with remaining deficiencies

299

3

22

0

 

The Commission will determine any potential enforcement actions resulting from the inspections.  Last year, the Texas Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

 


 

Electric Generation Fleet Ready for Winter Weather Following ERCOT On-site Winterization Inspections

 

AUSTIN, TX, Dec. 30, 2021 - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterization 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 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities.

 

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 weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

 

“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization. “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”

 

ERCOT does not own or operate any electric generation units or electric power lines. ERCOT, however, is responsible for balancing electric supply and demand on an electric grid that serves more than 26 million Texans representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric demand.

 

Of 302 generation resources inspected, some generators had exceeded PUC winterization requirements. Only ten generation resources inspected had items identified on the day of inspection 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 are still operational.  The ten generation units have a total capacity of 2,129 megawatts, representing about 1.7 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet. 

 

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 on the day of inspection.  Most of these items have already been corrected.

 

ERCOT will conduct follow-up inspections on the generation and transmission facilities with potential identified issues. ERCOT and its contractors have spent more than 3,600 hours on these inspection-related activities to date. Additionally, ERCOT and PUC staff are actively monitoring the compliance plans of the generation resources that requested additional time to finalize compliance with the new winterization regulations.

 


 

ERCOT preparing for Tropical Storm Nicholas

 

AUSTIN, TX, Sept. 13, 2021 – As Tropical Storm Nicholas bears down on Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is preparing the grid to maintain reliability in the face of rain, winds and potential flooding.

 

In addition to officially alerting ERCOT market participants of the weather threat, ERCOT has acted to reduce planned maintenance-related outages in the area most likely to be affected by Nicholas and instructed power companies to implement their emergency procedures in preparation for the storm.

 

Any power outages caused by the storm will most likely be at the local distribution level. Local outages can be caused by factors ranging from high winds toppling power poles to tree limbs falling on power lines. 

 

Residents and businesses experiencing power outages should contact their local electric service providers to report those outages and receive updates on restoration times. 

 


 

ERCOT unveils Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability

Comprehensive operations changes already underway

 

AUSTIN, TX, July 13, 2021 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has delivered the “Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability” to Governor Greg Abbott, members of the Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The Roadmap is a comprehensive plan that addresses operational improvements to the Texas power grid, including important legislative changes, objectives outlined in the Governor’s letter issued July 6 and other reforms.

 

“Change is required for ERCOT to continue to reliably serve the millions of customers and businesses that depend on us,” said ERCOT Interim President and CEO Brad Jones. “We have extensively reviewed our processes to better serve Texans and will continue to work very closely with the PUC to ensure we’re aligned in these efforts. These changes will benefit all Texans and support continued economic growth for the state of Texas."

 

The 60-item Roadmap is available on ERCOT.com and will be updated regularly through the end of the year.

 

“ERCOT’s Roadmap puts a clear focus on protecting customers while also ensuring that Texas maintains free market incentives to bring new generation to the state,” said PUC Chairman and ERCOT Board Member Peter Lake. "Texans deserve a more reliable grid, and we're aggressively moving to make that a reality."

 

The roadmap includes both existing and new initiatives, including:

  • Taking a more aggressive operating approach. ERCOT is bringing more generation online sooner if it is needed to balance supply and demand. The grid operator is also purchasing more reserve power, especially on days when the weather forecast is uncertain.
  • Requiring CEO certifications. After a rule change, all market participants who own or operate generation resources and/or transmission/distribution power lines will be required to submit a letter signed by their CEO twice a year certifying their companies have completed their weatherization preparations to protect the electric grid for the summer and winter seasons.
  • Adding new requirements for generation owners. ERCOT is proposing a new market rule that requires generators to provide operational updates more frequently.
  • Assessing on-site fuel supplies. ERCOT is reviewing the need for on-site fuel supplies for some generators.
  • Performing unannounced testing of generation resources. This testing helps verify that generators have provided accurate information about their availability.
  • Addressing transmission constraints in Rio Grande Valley. ERCOT and the PUC are initiating a process to address RGV transmission limitations and provide increased market access for resources in the Valley. This will improve reliability for customers during normal conditions and high-risk weather events.

In developing the Roadmap, Jones and the ERCOT team worked with the PUC, customers, former regulators, retired industry executives, environmental advocates and market participants to ensure all areas for improvement were considered and included.

 

ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state's electric load. As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 710+ generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for more than 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.

 

Media Contact:

media@ercot.com

 

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June 15, 2021 – Reliability of grid remains strong during record demand

Request to conserve energy during peak hours (3-7 p.m.) continues through Friday

 

When ERCOT issued a call for conservation on Monday, Texans responded strongly by reducing electric demand during the late afternoon. ERCOT continues to encourage Texans to conserve power each afternoon during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m. through this Friday. 

 

The grid is operating exactly as it was designed and intended. The issuance of conservation notices is a common practice and prevents ERCOT from entering emergency conditions. Conservation efforts combined with the changes in procedures and processes implemented by ERCOT and the PUC following the winter storm prevented the possibility of rotating outages yesterday and ensured that no Texans lost power.

 

“We know it can be tough to change family routines, but yesterday is proof that simple conservation measures really do make a difference,” said ERCOT Interim President and CEO Brad Jones. “Conservation notices are commonly-used tools used by utilities and system operators across the country to ensure the reliability of the electric grid. If possible, Texans should apply that same effort during peak hours from 3 to 7 p.m. this week until conditions return to normal.”

 

ERCOT has been leveraging every resource at its disposal, including activating all available generating units to help serve customer demand before calling for conservation. Approximately 1,200 MW of power was regained overnight Monday when some repairs were completed. One MW typically powers around 200 homes on a summer day.  

 

Yesterday, ERCOT set a new June record for electricity demand. Based on preliminary data, the new record is 69,943 MW, which exceeds the 2018 June record by approximately 820 MW.

 

Power plant owners continue repairs of unexpected equipment failures, and ERCOT is using all the tools in its toolbox to maintain reliability in the face of potential record-setting electricity demand.

 

Conservation Tips

 

Please take these simple actions to help reduce electric use between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m.:

 

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher – every degree of cooling increases your energy use by six to eight percent.
  • Turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dryers.
  • If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible. 

 

More conservation tips are available at http://powertosavetexas.org/ or your local energy delivery company or Retail Electric Provider.

 


 

June 14, 2021 - Tight grid conditions expected due to high number of forced generation outages

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking Texans to reduce electric use as much as possible today through Friday, June 18. A significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June has resulted in tight grid conditions.

Generator owners have reported approximately 11,000 MW of generation is on forced outage for repairs; of that, approximately 8,000 MW is thermal and the rest is intermittent resources. According to the summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, a typical range of thermal generation outages on hot summer days is around 3,600 MW. One MW typically powers around 200 homes on a summer day.

"We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service," said ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. "This is unusual for this early in the summer season."

According to generation owners, the number of outages should decrease throughout the week.

Wind output for today is expected to be 3,500 to 6,000 MW between 3 and 9 p.m. This is roughly 1,500 MW lower than what is typically available for peak conditions. Wind output is expected to increase as the week goes on.

Today’s peak load forecast may exceed 73,000 MW. The peak demand record for June is 69,123 MW set on June 27, 2018 between 4 and 5 p.m.

Please take these simple actions to help reduce electric use:

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher – every degree of cooling increases your energy use by six to eight percent.
  • Turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dryers.
  • If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible.

 Visit the Power to Save website or your electric provider for more ways to conserve.

How to track electricity demand

  • View daily peak demand forecast, current load and available generation at http://www.ercot.com.
  • Follow ERCOT on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO) and Facebook (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).
  • Sign up for the ERCOT mobile app (available for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play).
  • Subscribe to the EmergencyAlerts list on http://lists.ercot.com.

Consumer assistance

Public Utility Commission of Texas Hotline – 1-888-782-8477