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ERCOT expecting tight conditions Wednesday, no appeals for conservation

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Tuesday sent out a call for energy conservation to avoid "emergency conditions."

TEXAS, USA — After issuing a plea for energy conservation across Texas on Tuesday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said it is expecting "tight grid conditions" again Wednesday afternoon. However, it is not requesting energy conservation at this time.

“We may see tight grid conditions due to the large number of generators out of service for planned and forced maintenance combined with low wind and solar output forecasted for today,” said ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. “Additionally, we’re seeing some risk in the Rio Grande Valley due to the forced outage of a generating unit in the area.”

As of Wednesday, about 33,000 MW of generation is out of service for maintenance.

ERCOT reports that tight conditions are not always caused by high demand in the electric system. In the spring and fall, electricity load may be relatively low but, due to the fact that a large number of generators are out of service for scheduled maintenance, there is less overall generation capacity.

RELATED: ERCOT's request for consumers, businesses to conserve energy has ended

"Additionally, the weather tends to fluctuate more during the spring and fall, resulting in a significant amount of variability on the electric system due to changing demand and renewable output," ERCOT wrote in a press release.

ERCOT added that its large generating units do require periodic maintenance in order to sustain their performance during the summer months. It said that, typically, these outages will occur in the spring when demand tends to be lower to make sure the units are available in the summer. 

"Just like maintaining your car, generators must be maintained to keep them running smoothly," said Rickerson. "ERCOT must balance these necessary outages with serving load during the spring and fall months, especially given increased weather volatility."

On Tuesday, ERCOT said the "higher-than-forecasted" demand was caused by a stalled cold front over the state of Texas.


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