The scorching heat threatens the Texas Power network again

The scorching heat threatens the Texas Power network again

power lines in houston

It has been hot May recording In parts of Texas, the state is in more of the same this week. On Friday, due to the heat, six power plants in Texas stopped operating, taking 2,900 megawatts off the grid, according to the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). It was Texas Curb request They consume electricity in response to avoid overloading the rest of the power supply.

“We ask Texans to conserve energy when possible by setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and to avoid using large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers) during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. over the weekend,” the president said. ERCOT interim CEO, Brad Jones, on Friday Evening public statement.

But the heat that caused early season failures won’t go away. Temperatures were expected on Monday Hitting highs of 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius) in some parts of the state. It will remain hot through Friday, with three-figure temporary staff expected in and around San AntonioAnd Fort Worthand large areas of West Texas. altitudes more than 10 Fahrenheit is hotter From historical averages, according to NOAA data.

With thermometer readings like these, Texas is unique weak electrical network They may experience more turbulence, just as people need their air conditioners and fans to work the most. that Earlier in the heat wave Starting this month during the Mother’s Day holiday, power plants have postponed planned outages to keep the grid running. But this weekend it proved that these precautions will not always be enough, the network still has significant limits.

What’s going on with the power grid in Texas?

Texas is the only state that has its own state, isolated electrical network. This means that when severe weather or other conditions cause in-state production, Texas can’t borrow as easily from a neighbor as another state does. The electricity market in Texas is also “for energy only” This means that producers are not stimulated to produce spare energy. And even on a good day, the network is burdened with taxes, with some The thinnest margins between energy use and availability in the country.

Friday was the third time ERCOT has asked households and businesses to limit the amount of electricity they use Since 2021 catastrophic winter Statewide power outage who killed up to 700 Persons. It was the first limit request in April 2021, after the outage of many power plants for maintenance and usage rose unexpectedly. It was the second two months Later in June When some other power plants closed during the heat wave.

That same month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation making two minor reforms to ERCOT. One law enforced some weathering of power generators and transmission lines, while the other made changes to the ERCOT board. After signing these two bills, Abbott declared, “Everything that needs to be done has been done to fix the Texas power grid.”

However, June’s changes hardly scratched the surface of widespread Infrastructure improvements experts He says he needs the state to its electrical network for meet needs of Texas under climate change. State Republican lawmakers also blocked more legislation that would have required more backup power generation, according to Reports from Houston Chronicle. And Friday’s power plant failure and rationing notice clearly prove Abbott wasn’t quite right.

Why do power plants fail?

ERCOT has not disclosed which power plants were closed on Friday, nor what exactly caused the failures. (hint it It wasn’t wrong of green energy, as Abbott once believed. solar performance stay high at 73% of capacity.) But that’s probably due to heat. The relationship between high temperatures and the stability of the power grid is well established and double.

For example, when it’s hot, the demand for energy goes up as people rely on air conditioning and fans to stay cool. Then, the heat makes things go well. Electricity generation and transportation become less efficient, and if they get too hot, infrastructure like transformers can explode and shut down.

what happened after that?

Just a few hours before ERCOT announced the power plant failure, Abbott sought to reassure Texans about the stability of the grid. he is tweet it A photo of him with utility company executives and the statement that “we continue to work closely to ensure that the Texas power grid remains reliable and meets the needs of Texas.”

However, another Texas Republican lawmaker took a different approach. “The energy conservation warning this weekend is another sign that we should have more reliability,” Deputy Governor Dan Patrick He said in a statement. He described last June’s laws as a first step, and added that “work remains to be done”.

It is undoubtedly true. Human-caused climate change will likely continue to cause both Increasingly and frequently heat waves. In addition, climate change may have an unexpected impact he had a hand 2021 is very cold in Texas as well, by contributing to standard seasonal air currents. We’re changing the planet’s basic cycles, and if we want to keep AC running, we’d better change our electrical grids to keep up.

2022-05-16 20:10:00

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