ERCOT unveils its plan to tackle improvements to state’s power grid. Here’s what’s in it.

HOUSTON – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, commonly known as ERCOT, released a statement Tuesday that it has come out with a plan to address operational improvements to the state’s power grid.

The document is called the “Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability,” and ERCOT said it has delivered it to Gov. Greg Abbott, members of the Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission.

ERCOT said the plan also addresses legislative changes, objectives outlined in the governor’s letter issued July 6 and other reforms.

“Change is required for ERCOT to continue to reliably serve the millions of customers and businesses that depend on us,” said ERCOT Interim President and CEO Brad Jones. “We have extensively reviewed our processes to better serve Texans and will continue to work very closely with the PUC to ensure we’re aligned in these efforts. These changes will benefit all Texans and support continued economic growth for the state of Texas.”

The 60-item Roadmap is available on ERCOT.com.

The 60 point plan laid out by ERCOT aims to strengthen the power grid, not today or tomorrow but over time, according to Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Energy Officer at the University of Houston.

“There’s nothing really in this plan that’s going to help us feel more confident that in six weeks time if a hurricane hits, we’re better off,” Krishnamoorti said.

Krishnamoorti added the steps ERCOT is taking now are so that two, maybe three years from now, our state’s power grid won’t buckle during a deep freeze.

“In order to keep the people’s confidence, they are going to have to tread carefully. They are going to have to do things carefully. I think there will be a lot more planning exercises going on across the system. This is not like an app. we can’t have an app for it. We actually have to do hard work here to make systematic changes to hard infrastructure,” Krishnamoorti said.

ERCOT said it will be updated regularly through the end of the year.

SEE THE ROADMAP IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE ON ERCOT.COM (PDF).

“ERCOT’s Roadmap puts a clear focus on protecting customers while also ensuring that Texas maintains free market incentives to bring new generation to the state,” said PUC Chairman and ERCOT Board Member Peter Lake. “Texans deserve a more reliable grid, and we’re aggressively moving to make that a reality.”

Here’s what the roadmap includes, as described by ERCOT:

  • Taking a more aggressive operating approach. ERCOT said it is bringing more generation online sooner if it is needed to balance supply and demand. The grid operator is also purchasing more reserve power, especially on days when the weather forecast is uncertain.
  • Requiring CEO certifications. After a rule change, all market participants who own or operate generation resources and/or transmission/distribution power lines will be required to submit a letter signed by their CEO twice a year certifying their companies have completed their weatherization preparations to protect the electric grid for the summer and winter seasons.
  • Adding new requirements for generation owners. ERCOT is proposing a new market rule that requires generators to provide operational updates more frequently.
  • Assessing on-site fuel supplies. ERCOT said it is reviewing the need for on-site fuel supplies for some generators.
  • Performing unannounced testing of generation resources. ERCOT said this testing helps verify that generators have provided accurate information about their availability.
  • Addressing transmission constraints in Rio Grande Valley. ERCOT said it and the PUC are initiating a process to address RGV transmission limitations and provide increased market access for resources in the Valley. ERCOT said this will improve reliability for customers during normal conditions and high-risk weather events.

In developing the roadmap, ERCOT said Jones and the ERCOT team worked with the PUC, customers, former regulators, retired industry executives, environmental advocates and market participants to ensure all areas for improvement were considered and included.


About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.

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