According to the grid operator, demand is forecasted to exceed supply early Thursday evening from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ERCOT is asking residents to reduce energy usage from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; this is the fourth time a conservation request has been issued this summer.
Despite reports indicating the gap between supply and demand is expected to be the tightest on Thursday, the notice was sent to the public as a voluntary, non-emergent alert. If the grid starts operating under emergency conditions, it will be the first time since Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.
(1/2) TXANS Update—August 24, 2023: ERCOT has issued a Conservation Appeal for today, Aug. 24, from 3 – 10 p.m. due to extreme temperatures, continued near-record demand, and forecasted low wind-power generation. Tight grid conditions are expected this afternoon into the evening. pic.twitter.com/zCCUfN34y8— ERCOT (@ERCOT_ISO) August 24, 2023
Extremely high, consistent temperatures, leading to increased demand and low input of wind power, is placing the grid at risk of activating one of its three levels of emergency operations.
The grid enters into level one when operating reserves drop below 2,300 megawatts, level two if it decreases to below 1,750 megawatts and level three if lower than 1,340 megawatts. If the reserve drops below 1,000 megawatts, ERCOT starts issuing rolling power outages as a last resort to keep it functioning.
ERCOT enforced rolling outages during Winter Storm Uri, which were supposed to provide temporary relief to the grid. However, residents went days without power – and at least 200 people died.
To avoid emergency operating conditions, ERCOT suggested residents set their thermostats higher, skip out on using larger appliances, turn off pool pumps and unplug all nonessential lights and appliances.
The grid operator asked businesses to turn off lights and equipment in spaces that are not in use and to turn off air conditioning outside of operating hours. ERCOT also requested that government agencies implement their programs to reduce energy consumption at their facilities.
Reliant Energy, one of Houston’s top providers, issued a conservation request on Wednesday night, which was activated Thursday and extended through Monday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
If supply does exceed demand, ERCOT has tools to try and reduce the need and call upon other available sources of supply to prevent entering into level 2 or 3 of emergency operating conditions. As of 1 p.m. on Thursday, the grid was functioning normally.
This is a developing story and will be updated as needed.