ERCOT cancels program to boost power reserves ahead of potentially precarious winter
by Philip Jankowski, Dallas Morning News | Source: Dallas Morning News | Posted 11/17/2023
ERCOT has sought mothballed and decommissioned power plants to fire up for the winter, but none were willing to reactivate.
AI generated summary
A program to boost power reserves in Texas for the winter has been canceled after no energy companies volunteered to reactivate their idle power plants, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT had sought additional electricity generation to power 600,000 homes, but only enough power for 2,200 homes was offered by companies willing to shed electricity usage during emergencies. The canceled program aimed to pay owners of mothballed and decommissioned power plants to reactivate them starting from December 1. Power grid regulators had expressed concerns about the lack of a firm cap on the cost of the program, and some generation companies saw it as government interference in the electricity marketplace.
The cancellation highlights the challenges facing Texas' electric grid this winter. ERCOT's risk assessment report projected a 20% chance of emergency conditions and a 17% chance of rolling blackouts if the state experiences severe weather. While ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas believes that the risk of power cuts is small due to improved weatherization standards and communication, the failure of the program has prompted discussions about alternative ways to boost power reserves, such as demand response programs. The goal is to attract utilities and private power providers, as well as residential and small businesses, to participate in reducing electricity consumption during periods of high demand.
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