ERCOT expects “tight grid conditions” again on Wednesday but no energy conservation request

HOUSTON – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects “tight grid conditions” again on Wednesday afternoon but is “not asking for energy conservation at this time,” ERCOT said in a statement.

The power demand will come close to the power supply “due to the large number of generators out of service for planned and forced maintenance combined with low wind and solar output forecasted today,” the statement continued.

“First of all, I think there’s no need to panic,” Democratic State Rep. Gene Wu said in an interview. “This is important, to pay attention to this, but we shouldn’t be running for the woods right now.”

In Spring and Fall, when electric demand is lower than usual, “there are typically a large number of generators that are out of service for scheduled maintenance,” ERCOT explained.

“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,” the statement continued.

“I think they’re trying to be more transparent and trying to provide more information to the public,” Wu said.

He expressed frustration at ERCOT’s initial, brief advisories on Tuesday. The first message was a short tweet. An email to government officials followed two hours later.

“It’s not, just not going to fly,” Wu said, “especially after what happened in February. We really need to do a better job of communicating, communicating clearly with people.”

The planned maintenance is necessary to ensure that the power grid is ready for more demanding times, explained ERCOT’s Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson.

“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.”

Late Tuesday, the agency sent out the following message to retail electric providers and the Texas Public Utility Commission:

“Capacity Insufficiency: ERCOT is issuing an OCN for a projected reserve capacity shortage for hours ending 13:00 through 20:00. ERCOT is requesting all QSE’s to update their COPs.”

Officials at ERCOT said Tuesday’s conservation request due to high generator outages, which is typical for April, and higher-than-forecasted demand caused by a stalled cold front over Texas.

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