The Lone Star State's embrace of "green" energy wind and solar farms is contributing to the downfall of the state's electrical grid, which is fast becoming one of the most unreliable in the nation. (Related: Remember when Texas experienced freezing blackouts back in early 2021?)
Since 2008, ERCOT has had to deploy its Conservation Appeal more than 48 times to "manage grid operations." The notification is issued, the group says, whenever projected energy reserves are expected to fall below 2300 MW (megawatts) for 30 minutes or more.
"With extreme hot weather driving record power demand across Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is issuing a Conservation Appeal, asking Texans and Texas businesses to voluntarily conserve electricity, Monday, July 11 between 2-8 p.m. ERCOT also issued a Watch for a projected reserve capacity shortage from 2-8 p.m. At this time, no system-wide outages are expected," ERCOT announced.
In Texas, it is not exactly possible to turn off the power completely during the blazing summer months, but ERCOT is suggesting that households and businesses turn up the thermostat and avoid using unnecessary appliances during peak hours.
ERCOT claims it is doing everything possible to avoid a total grid collapse, but is now having to call on the people of Texas to reduce their standard of living to avoid another potential blackout situation.
The group is blaming two things on the new Conservation Appeal having to be issued: record high electric demand and low wind.
"The heat wave that has settled on Texas and much of the central United States is driving increased electric use," ERCOT says. "Other grid operators are operating under similar conservative operations programs as ERCOT due to the heatwave."
As for the low wind situation, ERCOT says that energy generation from the state's many turbines are "generating significantly less" than the amount they normally generate during this time period.
"Current projections show wind generation coming in less than 10 percent of its capacity," the group says.
Unlike coal and gas, which are reliable and abundant sources of energy, wind turbines rely on a fluctuating weather event that at times does not occur as it is supposed to. Consequently, Texans could end up in the dark in the coming weeks.
As the week has progressed, ERCOT urgency about the matter has only increased, according to Doug Lewin, president of Stoic Energy Consulting.
"It's far tighter than it was Monday," Lewin told NBC DFW.
It turns out that more gas and coal plants are now offline compared to earlier in the week, which is straining the Texas energy grid even more than when ERCOT first issued its plea.
NBC DFW reports that the reason for gas and coal plants going offline remains "unclear," which only adds to suspicions that this is all a planned, engineered takedown of the energy grid.
In addition to heat and low wind, ERCOT is blaming the strain on "forced thermal outages" and "solar," despite earlier in the week claiming that solar power "is generally reaching near full generation capacity."
"On average, August is hotter than July in Texas. So from that perspective, yeah, there is reason for concern," warns Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University in Houston, about the potential for things to get much, much worse come August.
You can keep up with the latest news about the electrical grid at EnergySupply.news.
Sources for this article include: