By Hojiun Choi
The Dallas Morning News, September 6, 2022
Texas’ main electric grid operator, ERCOT, expects to have enough power generation this autumn to keep the lights on if conditions are normal. But a large number of power plant failures could mean blackouts.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas forecasted on Tuesday the grid will have sufficient capacity in this fall under “normal conditions,” but unplanned power plant outages and lower output from renewable energy sources could stress the system, according to the grid operator’s fall Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy Report.
From October to November, the grid operator projects peak energy demand to reach 64,928 megawatts, about a 3.6% increase from the projection for last year. The fall months are generally a time when power demand declines as temperatures fall, and plant operators can perform maintenance. Since the February 2021 outages, ERCOT now requires power plants to winterize their equipment during the fall months.
ERCOT said it expects 93,492 megawatts of power capacity to be available during peak demand hours in the fall. That capacity includes 5 megawatts of additional utility-scale solar capacity, the report stated.
In its seasonal report, ERCOT includes scenarios that could result in rolling blackouts.
With high peak demand, a high number of unplanned outages at fossil fuel and nuclear power plants and low wind output, demand could be more than 10,600 megawatts over capacity, according to the report. That could result in blackouts.
Low output from renewable sources, even if demand is normal and the amount of unplanned outages is typical, could result in a shortage of 3,109 megawatts.
Read the full article in The Dallas Morning News.