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Power generators and transmission sites winterized this week, but what does that look like?

ERCOT will be checking over the next nine days after certain cites were required to file. Austin Energy shared what they did at two sites we visited in May.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dec. 1 was the deadline for most energy producers in the state of Texas to winterize their facilities and file their plans. 

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) said that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will now go and inspect certain sites and check all of the applications to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to.

But what will these changes actually look like? 

Austin Energy sent us a few examples of the changes they made to two separate facilities we toured back in May

One of those was the Sand Hill Energy Center in Del Valle, which is a combined-cycle natural gas plant. Now, Austin Energy said the base of the plant will have a wind wall put up when it's colder to protect from freezing.

Credit: Hank Cavagnaro / Austin Energy

They said they also replaced the heat trace systems, which help to maintain the temperature of pipes. A wire heats up to prevent the pipes from freezing, and all of that is tracked wirelessly onto a dashboard.

They also said that they'll use things like insulated blankets to keep other parts of Sand Hill from freezing.

Credit: Austin Energy

Other sites, like the Decker Creek Power Station, will have heat lamps and portable heaters on site to keep different parts of the site warm.

Some more permanent upgrades would be insulation on the tank level transmitter. 

Credit: Austin Energy

The PUC told us that ERCOT will now go through hundreds of winterization reports and tell us more about how many generators and transmission sites are in compliance on Dec. 10.

But for now, this is just an example of what some sites are doing in the hopes of preventing another potential power crisis.


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