“Buckle Up”: May Heat (!) Could Strain Texas Grid

May 3, 2022

We all remember the spectacular failure of (primarily)Texas gas, coal and nuclear units during the winter of 2021.
Worth repeating that traditionally, Texas peak demand has occurred in the summer. Spring is the time when plants get maintenance – but climate is making that practice risky.

Houston Chronicle:

Texas residents could be facing potential blackout conditions this weekend in response to spiking temperatures in the Lone Star State and corresponding surges in demand on its notoriously fickle power grid.

According to Austin-based energy consultant Doug Lewin, the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is expecting demand for power to reach 69.3 gigawatts on Saturday, May 7 as temperatures in Houston and Dallas hit highs in the low-to-mid ’90s and eclipse 100 in towns such as Midland and Laredo.

“This Saturday, ERCOT expects 69.3GW of demand, an insane amount for a weekend in early May,” Lewin tweeted Monday, estimating that the figure would likely be a record for energy demand on the state grid in the month of May.

Lewin stated that the previous May record, to his best knowledge, peaked around 67 gigawatts. Making matters worse, ERCOT is expecting 20 gigawatts of Texas thermal plants powered by coal and gas to be offline for maintenance during the peak demand window of the coming heat, according to Lewin.

As of Monday afternoon, ERCOT has not publicly addressed the coming demand spike. The regulatory body faced a storm of national criticism last year when freezing temperatures from Winter Storm Uri derailed the state grid, leading to wide-ranging power outages and hundreds of estimated deaths.

Peak demand during Winter Storm Uri reached around 70 gigawatts, according to a Texas Oil and Gas Association study—an amount only fractionally higher than the load expected this weekend. 

One Response to ““Buckle Up”: May Heat (!) Could Strain Texas Grid”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I’ll “pre-cool” a bit more before the big heat hits, at which point I’ll bump up the thermostat.

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