Texas grid vulnerable to blackouts during severe winter weather, even with new preparations, ERCOT estimates show
The most severe scenario considered by ERCOT for this winter — very high demand for power, extensive fossil fuel outages, and low renewable power production — does not capture the amount of power lost during February.
Analysis: Texas Republican lawmakers pleased most of their own voters, most of the time
They didn't make a majority of Texas voters happy on a single issue, but the Republican majority in the Legislature made most of their own voters happy — and then drew maps that minimize political threats to them in the November general election.
As world leaders seek to rein in methane, Texas' oil and gas industry pressured to cut emissions
Cutting methane emissions is one of the most effective short-term tools humanity has to reduce immediate damage from climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule could require oil and gas companies to monitor and reduce emissions of methane in the field.
Power companies required to better prepare plants for winter in first phase of rule approved by Texas regulators
The state Public Utility Commission adopted a rule — which experts first recommended a decade ago following a winter storm — requiring power companies to use “best efforts” to ensure plants can operate in the winter.
Oil industry helped handpick members of Texas advisory group for electric grid reliability, emails show
Oil and gas industry groups provided a list of names to the Railroad Commission for appointment to a council formed in response to the February power crisis. All four of the industry's top choices were selected.
The Karankawa were said to be extinct. Now they’re reviving their culture — and fighting to protect their ancestors’ land.
Historians long thought the Karankawa people had disappeared. But now a group of descendants is fighting to protect a coastal area — where thousands of Karankawa artifacts were found — from an encroaching oil export facility.
State lawmakers again try to ban most dangerous nuclear waste as feds consider allowing it at West Texas site
A failed regular session bill sought to give a financial break to a West Texas nuclear waste disposal company. Now, lawmakers have removed what opponents called a giveaway and are again trying to pass a bill to stop highly radioactive materials from coming to Texas.
U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz vote against infrastructure bill that could give Texas more than $30 billion
The Senate approved a $1 trillion, bipartisan bill that also earmarks money for broadband internet access. It’s not yet known how much money set aside for the country’s aging electricity infrastructure could go to Texas’ main power grid.
Energy industry showers Gov. Greg Abbott, other Texas politicians with campaign cash after they passed power grid bills
For some energy experts, the increase in donations for the officials at the close of the session looks like a reward for not passing more stringent regulations and raises questions about whether lawmakers let the oil, gas and the broader energy industry off easy for its massive failures.
T-Squared: What you can expect at this year’s Texas Tribune Festival
Nearly 150 speakers (including 20 more biggies revealed today) across more than 50 sessions. Four days of virtual programs. Two jampacked days of in-person programs. Everything streamed. Everything on demand. Are you as excited as we are?
ERCOT will have to release information about power plant outages quicker — but it may not detail what causes them
The Public Utility Commission said the state's main power grid operator will have three days — instead of 60 — to release some information about power plant outages. But that may not include why the electricity generators were offline.
Some Texas power plants unexpectedly went offline last week. The grid operator says it still doesn’t know why
Texans were asked to cut back on their electricity use for a week because of “tight” power grid conditions, according to ERCOT officials. They still haven’t said what caused the plant outages.
Texas grid operator urges electricity conservation as many power generators are unexpectedly offline and temperatures rise
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says a large number of power plants are offline, but it could not provide details as to what may be causing the “very concerning” number of outages. At the same time, the state is experiencing near-record demand for electricity in June.
Everyday Texans overlooked in state lawmakers' response to power outages during winter storm
While lawmakers took significant steps toward preventing another blackout, hardly any of the proposals passed during this legislative session will aid consumers in recovering from the February storm — but they’ll see higher utility bills.
Need a dishwasher, light bulbs, toilet? They’re sales tax-free this weekend
If you need a new dishwasher, plants to spruce up the yard, or just want to stock up on light bulbs, Memorial Day weekend may be the time to shop. Texans pay no sales tax on qualifying energy-saving and water-sipping appliances and products.
Texas could give landowners more say in eminent domain negotiations under bill sent to Greg Abbott’s desk
After failing last session, lawmakers finalized a bill — described as a “delicate compromise” — that provides new protections for landowners in negotiating with companies attempting to seize their land through eminent domain.
Texas Legislature close to approving billions to pay for winter storm financial fallout
Several billions of dollars in state-approved financing will be necessary to stabilize the state’s distressed energy market after the winter storm. Texas approves more in finance bailouts for its utilities than any other state.
Two years after disastrous chemical fire, Texas close to creating new safety rules for industry
Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, spent years negotiating with industry groups to get new regulations placed on the chemical industry after the ITC fire in 2019. The bill has passed both chambers, but small changes need to be ironed out before it is sent to Gov. Greg Abbott.
ERCOT: Texas grid was 4 minutes and 37 seconds away from catastrophic blackout
Magness gave the presentation Wednesday during the first ERCOT board of directors meeting since the winter storm passed through the Lone Star State. AdMagness’ presentations also included comparisons to Texas’ last severe winter storm in 2011. (KSAT)The Dallas-Fort Worth area had been at or below freezing temperatures for 140 consecutive hours, compared to 101 hours in 2011′s winter storm. In Austin, the city was at freezing temperatures for 162 consecutive hours, compared to 69 hours in 2011. ERCOT officials will testify about the winter storm outages in front of the Texas Legislature on Thursday.
No, Biden did not prohibit Texas power plants from operating at maximum capacity before winter disaster
One claim making the rounds on social media alleged the Biden administration played a role in throttling power production in the name of protecting the environment. After digging into the evidence behind these claims, KSAT’s Trust Index team has determined those social media posts are not true. “It looks like the Biden administration pretty much gave ERCOT what it asked for,” said Dr. Daniel Cohan, Associate Professor of civil and environmental engineering for Rice University. While it’s not ideal to have power generators exceed environmental limits, Cohan said it was necessary during this emergency. “And so the Biden administration gave them everything they asked for to be able to keep those power plants running.”AdCohan thinks the social media claims suggesting the Biden administration somehow throttled power production are off-base.
In letter to governor, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff blames winter disaster on energy deregulation
SAN ANTONIO – In the aftermath of Texas’ winter storm disaster, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff wrote a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Friday, asking him to radically change how the state’s power grid operates. The outages, officials said, were necessary as the state was “minutes” away from an even more devastating blackout. Before that, the state’s power system was integrated, with all three roles carried out by appointed or elected commissioners. “Across the state, deregulation led to ‘just in time power’ purchases from wholesalers without the incentive for storing back-up generation power,” Wolff wrote.
Skyrocketing price of power could impact CPS Energy bills for a decade or longer
San Antonio – Power may have been scarce this week for CPS customers, but it’s likely to also end up being expensive. Now that the electricity reliability crisis is over, CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams says affordability issues are looming because of the high fuel costs during the cold weather. I stopped counting at 16,000 percent.”Part of your CPS bill is based on a “Fuel Adjustment Charge,” which covers the fuel costs of associated with CPS generating power, the purchase of renewable power, and purchases from the open energy market. Typically, these fuel costs roll into bills over a 45 to 60 day period, but CPS is trying to find a way to spread the cost out over a longer period. AdThough the final effect on your bill isn’t clear yet, CPS officials stressed it has not been disconnecting customers since March.