Updated at 7:09 p.m.:
ERCOT issued the following update regarding the electrical crisis:
“We are working around the clock to restore power to Texans,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “We made progress today, but it will not be good enough until every person has their power back.”
Since Wednesday morning, ERCOT has been able to restore approximately 8,000 MW, which is about 1.6 million households. On Wednesday afternoon, there was sufficient generation available to begin restoring 1,000 MW every hour.
“We’re at a point in the restoration where we’re going to keep energizing circuits as fast as we safely can until we run out of available generation,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin. “We hope to make significant progress overnight.”
It is possible that by morning, as load increases, local utilities may be able to go back to rotating outages versus keeping power off for extended periods of time.
As of 6 p.m., approximately 43,000 MW of generation has been forced off the system during this extreme winter weather event. Of that, 26,500 MW is thermal and nearly 17,000 MW is wind and solar.
As of Wednesday, 2.8 million Texans were still without electricity as restoration efforts have been hampered by another round of freezing rain and snow in parts of the state.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas had to increase its load shed — the amount of power that needs to be cut to keep the statewide electric grid balanced — back to 14,000 MW after losing an imported line of power.
We know this is hard. We continue to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power. We gained some MWs overnight but are back to 14,000 MW of load shed; lost east DC-tie imports due to Midwest power emergency. We hope to reduce outages over the course of the day.— ERCOT (@ERCOT_ISO) February 17, 2021
ERCOT officials said they were able to restore power to 600,000 homes Tuesday, but that millions are still without power.
Residents have gone days without power in some cases, and with the freezing temperatures, homeowners have complained of bursting pipes and water outages.
ERCOT officials could not provide a solid timeline on when they expected to resolve the outages.
They said temperatures need to be consistently above freezing in order for generators to come back online and for fuel transports to start up again. When warmer temperatures set in, demand will go down as supply goes up, allowing power to flow through the entire grid again.
As criticisms of ERCOT mount, officials defended their handling of the situation, saying the consequence of not controlling the outages would lead to a “cascading, catastrophic blackout.”
“The fundamental decision that was made at the middle of night, 1 a.m. on Monday, to have the outages imposed was a wise decision by the operators that we have here,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.
In San Antonio, nearly 300,000 customers have been affected by the outages, according to the CPS Energy outage map.
CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams said Tuesday that the frigid temperatures have affected every source of power generation, including wind, solar, natural gas and coal.
With no end to the outages in sight, San Antonio has established a warming center for residents needing a place to stay.
Unfortunately, another round of wintry precipitation is in store Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
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