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ERCOT Asks Texans to Conserve Energy Again As Demand Tests Limits

Texans have been asked to voluntarily cut back on energy usage amid “extreme temperatures,” sagging wind power generation, and booming demand, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said on Thursday.

“ERCOT has issued a Voluntary Conservation Notice for 3 – 8 p.m. today, Aug. 17, due to extreme temperatures, forecasted high demand, & lower reserves due to low wind generation. Texans are asked to voluntarily reduce electric use, if safe to do so,” ERCOT said on Twitter.

Temperatures are soaring in Texas, reaching 111°F in Wichita Falls at 4 pm ET.

ERCOT stressed that despite calls for voluntary cutbacks, it was not in emergency operations.

ERCOT asked consumers to voluntarily cut electricity use a couple of weeks ago as well, as temperatures climbed into triple digits, and before that, in mid June. In June, the reasons ERCOT cited for the cutbacks were lower-than-normal wind energy output, the intermittency of solar output that contributes nothing to the grid after sunset, extreme heat, record demand, and thermal outages.

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.

According to ERCOT demand forecasts, demand could meet electricity supplied this afternoon before dropping off again in the evening hours. At 4 pm, ERCOT data suggested that demand reached 82,597 MW against committed capacity of 86,715 MW. 

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ERCOT is also asking all government agencies (including city and county offices) to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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