The Texas electricity grid operator is asking people in the state to conserve energy throughout the week, warning of tight power conditions amid high summer demand.
The request from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, comes only a few months after unusually cold temperatures plunged millions of Texans into darkness for multiple days while the state struggled to regain enough power supply to meet demand.
ERCOT is asking Texans to conserve energy this week in anticipation of record electricity usage for June amid scorching temperatures, coupled with a number of power plant outages.
To conserve power, the grid operator is asking people to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights and pool pumps, and avoid using large appliances such as washers and dryers.
In a news release Monday, ERCOT said roughly 11,000 megawatts of power generation are offline due to repairs, the bulk of which is fossil fuel plants. Typically, fossil fuel plant outages for repairs on a hot summer day would be around 3,600 MW, the grid operator said.
"We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT’s vice president of grid planning and operations. "This is unusual for this early in the summer season."
ERCOT also said output from wind turbines is expected to be lower than usual but will likely increase as the week progresses.
During the February incident, many power plants were driven offline by the cold weather, as they were unequipped to withstand freezing temperatures.
Energy experts argued, however, that the incident should be a wake-up call that the entire power grid isn’t prepared for the more extreme weather conditions that climate change will bring about.
ERCOT said Texas’s peak electricity load may break the monthly record for June on Monday.
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Original Author: Abby Smith
Original Location: Texans asked to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher to conserve power