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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking residents to take voluntary energy conservation measures to stave off more blackouts amid the current heatwave.
In a notice to Texas residents on Tuesday, ERCOT asked consumers to curb electricity use between the hours of 4pm and 8pm—peak demand time. The conservation request is being made to prevent blackouts as the temperatures hover near 100 and are expected to stay there for some time.
As a result of the heat, the Texas grid is straining under the weight of heavy demand, along with lower-than-normal wind energy output and the daily intermittency of solar power. On Monday, Texas shattered its June 2022 electricity demand record of 76,718 MW—burning through 79,304 MW so far this month. Today alone, electricity demand in Texas could reach 81,000 MW—a figure which would also break the current daily summertime record.
“ERCOT is requesting all government agencies (including city and county offices) to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities,” ERCOT’s press release said.
“ERCOT is using additional tools to manage the grid reliably, including using reserve power, calling upon reductions by large electric customers that have volunteered to lower their energy use, and bringing more generation online sooner.”
ERCOT has attributed its request to extreme heat, record demand, thermal outages, low wind energy output, and solar generation that contributes nothing to the grid after sunset.
ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 26 million Texas customers—or 90% of the state’s electric load. It is responsible for 52,700 miles of transmission lines and more than 1,100 generation units.
The North American Electric Reliability Corp warned in May that the United States would see likely blackouts this summer, forecasting “shortfalls” in power supplies to the West, Midwest, Southeast, and New England areas of the United States—and Texas.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.