Texas grid managers again asked residents to curtail electricity use Thursday as the state endures another bout of heat hot summer. The plea took on new urgency, a day after the system was on the verge of shutting down for the first time since the fatal accident. 2021 Winter Power Outages.

The Texas Electricity Reliability Board, which serves most of the state’s 30 million residents, made the request a day after insufficient energy reserves prompted grid operators to issue a Level 2 energy emergency alert.Operating reserves fall as demand surges in the heatAccording to ERCOT, wind and solar power have proven to be insufficient.

It was the commission’s first emergency move since a deadly ice storm in 2021 left millions of customers without power for days and killed hundreds.

In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), ERCOT said the state of emergency lasted for about an hour on Wednesday night until grid conditions returned to normal.

ERCOT said that in addition to low reserves, the reason for the emergency alert on Wednesday was a “frequency drop”, which is a decrease in the frequency of power generation. A spokesman for ERCOT did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the reasons for the frequency drop.

But Thomas Overby, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M University, said such a drop in frequency, often caused by large power plants going offline, could have a significant impact.

“You know, these generators run all summer long. So that means we might want to do maintenance on the generators, and they might put off until cooler temperatures,” said Overby, who is also a Texas Director of the Smart Grid Center at the A&M Engineering Experimental Station in Sri Lanka.

On Thursday, ERCOT asked residents to conserve electricity between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. CDT as reserves are expected to be low again. Heat alerts were in place for much of Texas on Thursday, with highs exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) in Austin, Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso and Houston. Thursday’s call to conserve electricity was ERCOT’s 11th such request since June 20, most of them in the past three weeks.

“We are asking Texas businesses and residents to conserve electricity when safe to do so,” ERCOT said in a tweet.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said improvements since 2021 have stabilized the grid. Earlier this year, Texas lawmakers passed legislation designed to entice developers to produce more “on-demand” electricity, but the legislation did not extend to renewable energy.

many texans still grid reliability.

“I think these situations today and yesterday were more isolated incidents. But yes, I certainly understand people’s concerns about that. It’s a legitimate concern,” Overby said.

In June, just before this summer’s sweltering heat descended on Texas, Abbott vetoed a bill to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings, saying it was not as important as cutting property taxes.

Unlike other U.S. states, Texas is not connected to the grid in other parts of the country, so in the event of a power shortage or failure, there are few options for getting power elsewhere.

In May, regulators warned that demand could outstrip supply on the hottest days.

Overby said he believed ongoing problems with the grid could lead to the addition of more generation, particularly via natural gas, as well as more storage capacity.

“I think people are going to look at this and say, ‘We can’t have Texas keep saying we don’t have enough electricity,'” Overby said.


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