Texas is bracing for another night of tight power supplies as an unprecedented heatwave stokes demand for electricity to run air conditioners across the second-largest US state.
(Bloomberg) — Texas is bracing for another night of tight power supplies as an unprecedented heatwave stokes demand for electricity to run air conditioners across the second-largest US state.
Electricity supplies are seen falling short of demand between 7:15 pm and 8:30 pm local time, according to five-minute forecasts compiled by Nrgstream, a data provider.
The outlook comes just hours after Texas spiraled into its worst power crisis since a deadly winter storm crippled the Lone Star State more than two years ago. As the grid teetered on the edge of blackouts late Wednesday, utilities urged customers to slash consumption by doing things like unplugging electric vehicles and pool filters.
Power for delivery during Thursday’s tightest period already is commanding more than $2,700 a megawatt-hour, 100 times the typical price for this time of year. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas that oversees the grid blamed the emergency on “high demand, lower wind generation, and the declining solar generation during sunset.”
“I feel like Ercot has already failed, and everyone – including Ercot – knows,” said Adam Sinn, owner of power-trading firm Aspire Commodities LLC. “Ercot has failed to make the grid reliable or affordable, it is now expensive and dangerous.”
Ercot didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Separately, the grid manager issued a formal warning for power-supply shortfalls starting around 6 pm Thursday.
Wednesday evening’s sudden descent into what’s known as a Level 2 energy emergency prompted Ercot to issue warnings about the potential for rolling blackouts. With Houston, San Antonio and Dallas — Texas’ three largest cities — seen topping 100 F (38 C) through at least Friday, electricity usage will remain elevated.
Weak winds probably were one of the main culprits of Wednesday’s squeeze as demand remained high even as power output from wind farms dwindled. Still, that wasn’t unexpected given weather forecasts, said said Katie Coleman, an attorney for the Texas Industrial Energy Consumers.
“We knew wind was low and demand was high, but there was no reason to expect conditions to be worse than many other days this summer,” Coleman said. “We are still trying to understand what happened.”
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