Weather Alert

ERCOT: Summer 2021 electric generation should be sufficient

Photo: ERCOT

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Energy Reliability Council of Texas held a joint press conference yesterday to tell Texans steps have been taken to improve electric grid reliability as summer temperatures are set to increase next week.

“As we tackle the challenge of redesigning the electricity market, everything is on the table, from incentivizing the construction of new power plants to capitalizing on improving battery technology,” PUC Chairman Peter Lake said. “In the meantime, we’ll keep Texans informed as our state weathers another hot summer and we pursue the grid reliability that Texans demand and deserve.”

Lake said the PUC has directed ERCOT to “significantly increase” the amount of electric generation on standby for peak afternoon hours when demand peaks. ERCOT is reportedly purchasing more reserve power from ancillary services that can respond quickly when demand spikes.

Brad Jones, Interim President and CEO of ERCOT, said the council is switching gears to act more proactively to secure additional power when generation supply and customer demand get too close.

In years past, ERCOT said the organization may have held off on exercising its authority to force a power plant to come online at cost, known as a Reliability Unit Commitment, until the very last moment, hoping the price for power would convince generators to fire up their plants.

Jones said ERCOT has procured more than 800 additional hours of generation service in July through the use of Reliability Unit Commitments and this additional generation “is more than any single month in recent history.”

ERCOT reported the July 2021 reserve power purchase is an increase of 38% year over year. Predictions place August’s increased reserve power purchase at 56% higher than last year.

Customer energy bills should not change, Jones said.

“We expect there is sufficient generation to meet summer 2021 electric demand; however, there may be times when we will call on customers to conserve just as other grid operators across the country and around the world do – it’s just another tool in the toolbox,” said Jones. “In response to a conservation notice, Texans may need to take some simple steps for a limited duration – such as doing laundry in the morning or running the pool pump at night instead of the afternoon – to ensure grid reliability.”

CPS Energy recommendations for conserving power:

  • Set thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher from 2 – 7 p.m.; set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home. The optimum energy-saving temperature is 78 degrees.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e. ovens, washing machines, etc.), especially during peak demand hours.
  • Use fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler. Remember: fans cool people by moving air across the skin. They don’t cool rooms and should be turned off in empty rooms.
  • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight; shutoff from 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Close shades and blinds on windows exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Charge electric vehicles after 9 p.m.

NBU is asking residents to conserve energy Monday

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