TEXAS, USA — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas -- or ERCOT -- is once again asking Texans to conserve energy.
On Thursday morning, ERCOT put out the conservation appeal from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. ERCOT said high temperatures and demand, along with low wind and declining solar power later in the afternoon could leave to lower operating reserves. ERCOT is also asking government agencies to reduce power.
This comes a day after ERCOT issued an Emergency Energy Alert Level 2 on Wednesday. According to KHOU 11 energy analyst Ed Hirs, it was the first time ERCOT reached that level since the 2021 winter storm.
“Last night, less than half of the electricity we expect to show up from wind showed up, coupled with a couple of power plants offline,” said Hirs. “That’s what pushed us into the emergency conditions. This is unprecedented.”
The next level could have possibly led to 'load shedding' or rolling blackouts. ERCOT said they recovered without having to do that.
A spokesperson for Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Thursday evening saying, in part, that the grid has been able to meet the challenge of increased demand so far thanks in part to new legislation. Read his full statement:
"During record-setting temperatures this summer, Texas set and broke power demand records 10 times without any systemwide issues or disruptions for the more than 26 million Texans served by the ERCOT grid. The grid has been able to meet those challenges and respond in record ways, providing more power than ever before, in large part because of the reforms passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Abbott. In 2021, Governor Abbott signed 14 bills to reform the power grid through increased power generation and capped electricity price spikes. Since this sweeping bi-partisan legislation was passed and enacted, no Texan has lost power because of the state grid. As Texas continues to grow, more demand will be placed on the grid, which is why Governor Abbott signed legislation like SB 2627 into law, providing up to $10 billion in incentives for construction, maintenance and modernization of electric generation and transmission facilities. Governor Abbott will continue working with the legislature to build a grid strong enough to power Texas for the next century."
However, our experts said the state has not added coal or natural gas plants in years. Experts also said the bills do not go far enough to make the grid resilient to extreme conditions.
We'll continue to monitor grid conditions and messages from ERCOT and will post the latest here.
Here's a real-time look at how the Texas power grid is holding up
Anytime the Texas power grid is the subject of a conservation advisory, or when the weather turns extreme in the Lone Star State, it's a good time to check on supply and demand.
The ERCOT has a dashboard that allows you to monitor real-time grid conditions.
This is a real-time look at the supply of power and demand, as reported by ERCOT. It also shows projected supply and demand, based on forecast.
ERCOT is tracking the state of the grid, as well as the state of the operating reserve.
There are several more real-time monitors that you can check on ERCOT's site, including system-wide demand, solar, current prices, and more.
Ways you can conserve energy:
- Raising your thermostat by a degree or two, if safe to do so.
- Avoid using large appliances, such as washers/dryers and dishwashers.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
- Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight; shut off during peak hours.