Texas power grid

ERCOT's TXANS Messages Simplify Grid Operations, Conditions for the Public

TXANS notifications give a heads-up that demand may be higher due to a forecasted event and the public should pay attention to changing conditions -- it does not replace emergency alerts

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) unveiled Wednesday morning a new communications tool to deliver clear and reliable information about grid conditions to the public -- the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS).

TXANS updates will be delivered through email, Facebook and Twitter, and through the TXANS website.

TXANS notifications do not replace Energy Emergency Alerts, which will continue to be sent to the EEA email distribution list, and do not indicate emergency grid conditions are expected, but rather give people a heads up that there may be periods of higher demand and that they should stay abreast of changing conditions or that conservation may be necessary to prevent an energy emergency.

The TXANS alerts include two new key notifications -- the ERCOT Weather Watch and the Voluntary Conservation Notice.

The ERCOT Weather Watch is an advanced notification that'll be sent out under normal grid conditions about 3-5 days before a weather event to tell the public there may be a higher demand for electricity due to a forecasted event and that they should pay attention to changing conditions. The second notice, a Voluntary Conservation Notice, is a call to Texans to voluntarily reduce usage during peak times if it is safe to do so.

"It is important to note that just because ERCOT issues a Weather Watch or a Voluntary Conservation Notice it does not mean that we are in or expect to be in emergency conditions," said ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas. “TXANS will deliver clear and reliable notifications ahead of significant weather conditions where high demand on the grid is possible. Keeping Texans informed earlier adds a new level of awareness on grid conditions and any public action that may be needed.”

ERCOT said TXANS is in addition to the previously announced 6-Day Supply and Demand Forecast and Fuel Mix dashboards available on the ERCOT webpage.

For more information, visit Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS).

ERCOT Warns of Brownouts This Summer in Forecast of Power Grid Demand

Earlier this month, ERCOT shared their seasonal assessment for this summer and warned that in extreme conditions the demand for power could outpace the available supply.

“On the hottest days of summer there is no longer enough on-demand, dispatchable power generation to meet demand in our system,” said Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, in early May.

Dispatchable power is electricity that can be created on demand, from non-renewable coal, nuclear, or natural gas generation facilities and does not include renewable energy sources like solar or wind.

"We are having to rely more on renewables during can peak conditions than we ever have before," said ERCOT's CEO, Pablo Vegas. "And as a result of this dynamic, this summer could have tighter hours than last summer, with a higher risk of emergency operations.”

But the state's ongoing population boom is faster than the state's grid can keep up with.

"We have the equivalent of the entire city of Oakland, California moving to Texas every year. More devices, more demand for electricity. So it’s that increase in demand without the market incentives to increase the supply of the dispatchable power that is now the resource adequacy problem," Lake said.

He said from 2008 to 2022, Texas' on-demand dispatchable power supply grew only 1.5%. However, in that same timeframe, our population has grown by 24%.

"The Texas grid faces a new reality,” said Lake. “Data shows for the first time that the peak demand for electricity this summer will exceed the amount we can generate from on-demand dispatchable power, so we will be relying on renewables to keep the lights on."

"The challenges that we’ve been describing today have been on the horizon for several years," Lake said.

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