The Biden administration declared a power emergency in Texas amid soaring electricity demand sparked by a brutal heat wave.
(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration declared a power emergency in Texas amid soaring electricity demand sparked by a brutal heat wave.
The order issued by the Energy Department on Thursday allows the state’s grid operator to waive some air- pollution limits so generators can produce more power. It is in effect until 9 pm local time Friday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the grid serving 90% of Lone Star State customers, requested the emergency order “to preserve the reliability of the bulk electric power system.”
READ: Texas Grid Faces Another Test as Power Experts Assess Near Miss
Surging energy demand “threatens to cause loss of power to homes and local businesses in the areas that may be affected by curtailments, presenting a risk to public health and safety,” the Energy Department said in its order.
The request came as intense heat well above 100 F in much of the state pushed demand for electricity to record highs. Texas is in the midst of its worst power crisis since a deadly winter storm more than two years ago, with utilities urging customers to unplug electric vehicles and pool filters to conserve power.
Electricity demand hit a record 82,705 megawatts on Wednesday — the highest of any September in history, the state’s grid operator said in its emergency request.
“This abnormally high demand is especially problematic in the evening hours, when the output from solar generating units decreases,” Ercot wrote in its Sept. 7 request to the Energy Department. Voluntary measures may not be enough to prevent blackouts, the grid operator warned.
(Adds line from Texas grid operator’s emergency request in last paragraph.)
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