ERCOT issues conservation appeal for Friday amid expectation for tight grid conditions

Texans asked to conserve electricity use, if safe to do so, from 3-9 p.m. Friday

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AUSTIN, Texas – ERCOT is urging Texans to conserve their energy use on Friday evening due to the expectation for tight grid conditions.

Due to low wind-power generation and high demand, operating reserves for ERCOT are expected to be low for several hours on Friday. Texans should conserve their energy use from 3-9 p.m. if safe to do so, ERCOT said in a news release.

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This is the second day in a row that ERCOT appealed for conservation in evening hours.

The utility states that on Thursday, “ERCOT avoided emergency operations due to the conservation efforts by Texas residents and businesses, combined with timely rainfall in the Houston area, improved wind conditions, and additional grid reliability tools.”

ERCOT is requesting all government agencies, including city and county offices, to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.

According to a news release, ERCOT is not experiencing emergency conditions at this time, but forecasts are showing a high potential to enter emergency operations Friday evening because of expected low wind-power generation and high demand. Help from Texans to conserve electricity use will assist grid reliability.

ERCOT is using additional tools to manage the grid reliably, including using reserve power, calling upon reductions by large electric customers that have volunteered to lower their energy use, and bringing more generation online sooner. ERCOT is also working with out-of-state Independent System Operators and Market Participants to obtain additional power generation capacity.

Conservation is a widely used industry tool that can help lower demand for a specific period of peak demand time, which is typically late afternoon into the evening hours. Energy-saving tips can be found on the TXANS webpage.

According to ERCOT, if you are experiencing an outage at this time, it is local in nature and not related to overall grid reliability. Please check with your local electric provider for more information.

CPS Energy also asked its customers to reduce electricity use, issuing a “Yellow Day” for Friday.

Why the Request to Reduce Usage?

  • Extreme Heat. Continued statewide extreme temperatures Friday.
  • Record Demand. Texas continues to experience near-record demand due to the heat.
  • Wind. Wind generation is forecasted to be low this afternoon during peak demand time and does not increase until very late in the evening.
  • Solar. Solar generation declines into the evening hours, before completely going offline at sunset.
  • Switchable Capacity. Independent System Operators (ISOs) in other states are going through similar extreme heat conditions and have asked for switchable generation resource capacity back to assist their regions. These switchable generation resources are within the primary control of other ISOs.

Peak Demand

  • ERCOT set a new, all-time, unofficial peak demand record of 85,435 MW on August 10, 2023.
  • In 2022, the August peak demand was 78,465 MW.
  • This summer, ERCOT has set 10 new all-time peak demand records.
  • Last summer, ERCOT set 11 new peak demand records with a high of 80,148 MW on July 20.

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About the Authors:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

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.