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ERCOT Clears Power Conservation Request, Expects no More This Week

July 12, 2022
When 2 p.m. Monday rolled around, the power grid managed by ERCOT still had enough power to meet demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the power grid over about 90 percent of Texas, issued a power use curtailment request for Texas electricity users earlier this week in anticipation of peak energy demand potentially outstripping its power generation capacity.

The request went out Sunday night for July 11 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday. When 2 p.m. rolled around, the power grid managed by ERCOT still had enough power to meet demand.

ERCOT said Texans used about 500 MW less power than expected when the request went into effect. During this time, the Texas grid set a demand record of 78,264 MW.

After the conservation request passed, ERCOT spokespeople stated the independent grid operator did not expect to have any more conservation requests this week.

As of Tuesday morning, ERCOT’s grid conditions displayed at its website showed it had more than 4,500 MW of reserve capacity available ­– enough to meet current demand.

The record demand for electricity in Texas is due to record-breaking high temperatures in the state. Worsening the issue, low winds resulted in less available wind power, according to ERCOT.

Among the voluntary recommendations ERCOT made to consumers to save energy: Using appliances like washers and dryers during off-peak times, and setting thermostats to 78 degrees F. The grid operator also asked large commercial and industrial power users to limit their power usage to avoid the need to institute rolling blackouts.

ERCOT last asked its users to conserve power in May when a hot day coincided with the temporary closure of several power plants.

The grid operator is attempting to avoid a repeat of an incident like February 2021, where ERCOT directed utilities to perform rolling blackouts when record-breaking cold temperatures froze critical portions of the region’s power infrastructure, leading to a crisis that claimed hundreds of lives.

Since that winter storm, the Texas Legislature moved to require utilities to retrofit power plants to withstand temperature extremes. 

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