ERCOT Releases New ‘Roadmap' for Power Grid Success

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas released a caller program Tuesday aimed astatine making the state’s powerfulness grid much reliable. It comes connected the heels of the monolithic wintertime powerfulness outages and recent warnings astir powerfulness shortages connected blistery days successful June.

NBC 5 Investigates has been analyzing the caller plan, which ERCOT called a "roadmap for reliability." It includes a 60-item list and addresses respective problems the legislature did not tackle erstwhile it passed caller laws to stabilize the grid, problems highlighted by NBC 5 Investigates successful a caller bid of reports looking astatine what went wrong.

“We cognize we person to change,” said Peter Lake, president of the Texas Public Utility Commission which oversees ERCOT.

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Lake testified successful a Senate proceeding successful Austin Tuesday arsenic the legislature continues to request answers for the near-collapse of the Texas grid successful February and present concerns astir powerfulness supplies successful the blistery summertime heat.

“We person to marque the grid much reliable and y'all sent america precise wide authorities connected that,” Lake told legislators.

ERCOT’s caller roadworthy representation includes plans to acquisition much reserve powerfulness connected days erstwhile the upwind is uncertain and much unannounced investigating of powerfulness plants to marque definite they are acceptable to run.

But immoderate powerfulness experts constituent retired the program is conscionable a opening constituent and immoderate problems whitethorn spell deeper than the fixes proposed.

“We've got a plan. We've got immoderate transparency but that doesn't alteration the information that we're relying connected astir a 3rd of our powerfulness plants that are much than 40 years old,” said Daniel Cohan, an vigor adept astatine Rice University.

Cohan said ERCOT’s quality to hole aging powerfulness plants is constricted due to the fact that those plants are owned by backstage companies, and it's up to them to determine whether to physique caller ones oregon walk wealth connected different things that could forestall aboriginal outages. Those could see items similar backup substance retention sites truthful powerfulness plants tin support moving erstwhile state supplies are abbreviated connected the coldest days.

“In different states, immoderate of these measures that would support america much protected, support america much reliable are mandated successful Texas, it's truly near to these backstage companies to take what to do,” Cohan said.

ERCOT said Tuesday it would look astatine the request for much backup substance storage.

NBC 5 Investigates went to the Midwest earlier this year to amusement however powerfulness companies determination trust connected retention preventing outages successful overmuch colder weather.

They unrecorded done brutal winters, twelvemonth aft year. But the lights enactment on. NBC 5 investigates what Texas tin larn from colder states to forestall aboriginal disasters.

“You mightiness person years wherever you don't request it, but erstwhile you bash request it, it's incredibly invaluable for you,” said Tom Metcalfe, the president of We Energies, the largest powerfulness generator successful Wisconsin and a inferior that’s been recognized arsenic 1 of the astir reliable successful the country.

In Texas, the legislature did not necessitate immoderate caller state retention successful laws passed precocious to hole the grid. Lawmakers besides did not necessitate ERCOT to code superior forecasting errors NBC 5 Investigates highlighted successful a study past month

The study recovered ERCOT severely underestimated the magnitude of powerfulness needed successful severe weather past wintertime and that immoderate experts fearfulness ERCOT’s summertime predictions whitethorn beryllium excessively optimistic.

Tuesday, ERCOT pledged to fortify its forecasting and the organization's caller main said -- a rash of powerfulness works breakdowns that near the authorities with abbreviated supplies successful June whitethorn person conscionable been a coincidence -- not a motion of much occupation ahead.

“As we spot those outages ramp backmost down we person a bully anticipation for wherever we are headed aboriginal this summertime - truthful it could conscionable beryllium a coincidence,” ERCOT interim CEO Brad Jones said.

“If this is this is sports. This is the playoffs to get done July and August erstwhile our aerial conditioners are moving most,” Cohan said.

PUC commissioners told legislators they would beryllium spending the adjacent 60 days successful enactment sessions and nationalist forums and should person immoderate changes to study by the extremity of the year. But immoderate grid experts person told NBC 5 Investigates they judge galore of the caller regulations and recommendations volition not beryllium implemented successful clip for the adjacent wintertime season.


Other Reports From NBC 5 Investigates

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