ERCOT, the state’s power grid operator, released a seasonal report this week forecasting record demand this summer and a larger generation reserve than last year.
The report came days after ERCOT called on Texans to reduce their electricity use given grid limitations, but on Tuesday the agency’s acting executive director, Brad Jones, tried to play down the impression of seriousness left. friday alert.
“It was not a conservation alert,” he said.
“It was not a call to conserve; It was just a request to the Texans to help us this weekend. It wasn’t that we were in a dangerous situation, not at all. It was to make sure we do everything we can to keep the network reliable.”
The directors of ERCOT and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) expressed “absolute confidence” in the stability of the Texas electrical system.
But if ERCOT issues a conservation alert this summer, here’s what it advises you to do to help reduce consumption:
How to conserve energy
ERCOT advises doing the following to reduce electricity consumption:
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree of extra cooling will increase power consumption by between 6% and 8%
- Use ceiling or portable fans to circulate cool air
- Install patio covers, awnings and window shades to protect your home from the sun
- Close blinds, curtains, or screens to block out the sun and heat
- Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of in a dryer
- On hot days, turn up your thermostat to 80 degrees or higher if you’re going to be out for more than four hours
- Turn off the lights and try to do activities like cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry in the morning or at night
- Avoid using large appliances such as ovens, washers and dryers
- Commercial establishments should minimize the use of light and electrical appliances.
- Large electricity consumers should consider suspending or reducing non-essential processes
- If you don’t need to use something, turn it off and unplug it
About ERCOT Alerts
When extreme heat weather hits the state, Texans may see more alerts and communication from ERCOT due to grid limitations and maintenance outages.
When the supply and demand for electricity cannot be balanced by the grid, ERCOT begins to take precautionary measures to prevent blackouts.
For example, issuing conservation alerts and three levels of Energy Emergency Alerts (EEAs).
Conservation alerts are triggered when operating reserves are estimated to be at risk.
A “normal” condition is considered when reserves remain above 3,000 megawatts.
Any minor reservation triggers a series of warnings, recommendations and alerts, including the conservation alert.
The power grid operator will encourage the public to reduce their electricity consumption and issue reports through press releases, social media, etc.
Emergency Alert Level 1 (EEA1) is activated when reserves fall below 2,300 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.
The network operator then considers issuing a conservation alert and sends out emergency notifications along with press releases.
Emergency Alert Level 2 (EEA2) is activated when reserves fall below 1,750 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.
The network operator issues a conservation alert and sends out emergency notifications along with press releases.
Emergency Alert Level 3 (EEA3) is activated when reserves fall below 1,375 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.
At that point the network operator will be able to implement controlled rolling blackouts, send the same alerts as before, and set up a call center if necessary.
I’m a science journalist and host of Cosmic Controversy (brucedorminey.podbean.com) as well as author of “Distant Wanderers: the Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System.” I primarily cover aerospace and astronomy. I’m a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper who has reported from six continents. A 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA), I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize winners and written about everything from potato blight to dark energy. Previously, I was a film and arts correspondent in New York and Europe, primarily for newspaper outlets like the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and Canada’s Globe & Mail. Recently, I’ve contributed to Scientific American.com, Nature News, Physics World, and Yale Environment 360.com. I’m a current contributor to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope and a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Twitter @bdorminey