TEXAS, USA — Some relief for Texans Friday morning: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas' (ERCOT) projections for Friday are much less than the rest of the week. Peak demand for Friday afternoon looks well below the supply.
Twice this week, ERCOT asked Texans to voluntarily conserve energy to avoid overloading the state's power grid. So far, there are no requests for energy conservation into this weekend.
On Wednesday, ERCOT deployed its "Emergency Response Service," or ERS. Through that service, ERCOT pays big power users, like factories, that are willing to reduce energy demand. The agency said the service really helped this week.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) oversees ERCOT. At its meeting on Thursday, the PUC voted to give ERCOT even more flexibility when it comes to deploying ERS. The PUC chairman also said the agency is changing how Texans are notified of emergency situations.
"We're working so hard to make sure that we keep the lights on, and we have more tools than ever and we [are moving] away from the old crisis-based business model," Chairman Peter Lake said. "In the past, the conservation notice may not go out until minutes before the conservation is needed. That's where you'll see the difference, in the different approach we're taking by letting Texans know earlier, even the night before. We don't take a conservation notice lightly."
So far, the PUC and ERCOT say they think the grid has sustained this summer's high energy usage very well and they are working to create more ways to conserve energy when high heat or freezing temperatures cause a strain.
The PUC is also moving ahead on a new project that commissioners say could address rising demand for power in Texas.
At its Thursday meeting, the PUC gave an update on the "Distributed Energy Resources" pilot workshop that was pitched by Tesla. That workshop would use batteries like the ones used with home solar panels as a specific kind of power for the grid.
The PUC is still figuring out who can be a part of the pilot workshop and how it will work. It could start early next year.
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