ERCOT expects tight grid conditions, issues conservation appeal for Thursday

Texans asked to conserve energy between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Power lines crisscross the Permian Basin landscape south of Gardendale in 2018. (Jerod Foster For The Texas Tribune, Jerod Foster For The Texas Tribune)

AUSTIN, Texas – ERCOT is asking Texans to conserve electricity from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday as tight grid conditions are expected.

Due to continued high temperatures, high demand, low wind, and declining solar power generation, operating reserves are expected to be low into the afternoon and evening hours.

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The conservation appeal comes on the heels of ERCOT issuing an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 on Wednesday night, although the grid operator said Thursday’s appeal does not indicate that it’s experiencing emergency conditions at this time, a news release said.

ERCOT is expecting similar conditions on Friday.

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.

Why the Request to Reduce Usage?

  • Heat. Continued statewide high temperatures.
  • Demand. Texas is seeing high demand due to the heat.
  • Solar. Solar generation starts to decline earlier in the afternoon hours towards the end of summer before completely going offline at sunset.
  • Wind. Wind generation is forecasted to be low this afternoon and into the evening hours during peak demand time.

Peak Demand

  • ERCOT set a new, all-time, unofficial peak demand record of 85,435 MW on Aug. 10.
  • ERCOT set a new all-time September peak demand record of 82,704 MW on Wednesday, surpassing the previous September peak of 81,674 MW set on Tuesday.
  • 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.

CPS Energy is also encouraging its customers to conserve electricity. Under CPS Energy’s color-coded conservation awareness notification system, the utility declared Thursday as a “Yellow Day.”


About the Author:

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