ERCOT says grid is stable enough to meet Texas’ demand this winter season

ERCOT, PUCT says there will be sufficient capacity to meet forecasted peak demand for the winter

SAN ANTONIO – The leaders of Texas’ top utilities say the grid is stable enough to handle the state’s demand for the winter season.

Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman Peter Lake and Electric Reliability Council of Texas CEO Pablo Vegas spoke Tuesday afternoon following the release of two reports that assessed grid capacity for the upcoming cold weather. View the news conference in the video player above and read the reports below.

Lake said ERCOT implemented reforms in the wake of the February 2021 winter storm that killed dozens, as millions of Texans were left without power for several days.

Those reforms, he said, include requiring generators to be weatherized, inspecting generators across the grid, mapping a “critical supply chain and critical infrastructure network” to make sure the natural gas supply stays online and flows to generators, and increasing communication across state agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Transportation, Railroad Commission and Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Vegas, who was hired by ERCOT in August, said, “we are in a position where the elements that are within our control, related to the reliability and the operation of the grid are as strong as they’ve ever been going into this winter season.”

He added that the demand for electricity in Texas continues to increase each year.

“That’s a result of the incredible growth that Texas is experiencing. Texas is adding a city the size of Corpus Christi every year in population,” he said.

The Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report states that the grid will have the capacity to meet the “peak” demand from December through February, if the region experiences “typical” conditions.

ERCOT and PUCT, a board that regulates the state’s power grid operators, came under fire last year after the 2021 winter storm that killed 246 people statewide. That freeze overwhelmed the power grid and left millions of Texans in the dark for days, causing 161 people to die from cold exposure-related injuries.

Other deaths were contributed to fires, crashes, falls and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The SARA report is available below.

The report on the Capacity, Demand and Reserves is available below.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.