- The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas' grid situation has improved since unplanned outages spurred calls for conservation last week, with officials saying businesses and residents reduced consumption enough to avoid significant issues.
- Due to limited electric generation and transmission infrastructure the area of South Texas, the Lower Rio Grande Valley is at risk for rolling outages during periods of extreme weather.
- According to ERCOT, peak demand in the Valley is more than 2,300 MW, and is expected to grow
to 2,600 MW by summer 2015 and more than 2,900 MW by 2020. There is about 2,300 MW of existing capacity in the region, while transmission lines can be used to bring in additional capacity.
Three days of conservation calls have set the ship right in South Texas, officials at ERCOT say. The region is short on generation normally, but unplanned outages led to pleas for consumers to turn down their thermostats during peak hours Wednesday to Friday last week.
"We appreciate consumers’ participation in helping ERCOT maintain reliability without the need for rotating outages this week," Dan Woodfin, director of system operations, said in a statement.
ERCOT issued a statement on June 3, saying that until the efforts to increase transmission and generation capabilities in the region have been completed, "even minimal unplanned outages during high electricity demand periods can create challenges." Platts reported that after ERCOT put out the call for conservation, real-time power prices in the South Load Zone spiked to about $130/MWh while other areas averaged closet to $25/MWh.
According to ERCOT, about 2,300 MW of capacity is available within the Valley region, including about 600 MW of wind power. Two transmission lines provide 1,100 MW to 1,500 MW of transmission capacity to import additional power into the region, along with a 170 MW direct current tie that could send power to or from the electric grid in Mexico.
More than 3,000 MW is being considered for the region, but the grid operator said only a small portion is expected to be built. And more than $1.3 billion in transmission improvements are in progress, ERCOT said, backed by Electric Transmission Texas and Sharyland Utilities, to improve the electric grid that delivers power to the Lower Rio Grande Valley region.