AUSTIN, Texas — The Energy Reliability Council of Texas is expecting tight grid conditions again this afternoon but is not asking for energy conservation at this time.
“We may see tight grid conditions due to the large number of generators out of service for planned and forced maintenance combined with low wind and solar output forecast for today,” ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson said in a company release. “Additionally, we’re seeing some risk in the Rio Grande Valley due to the forced outage of a generating unit in the area.”
Approximately 33,000 MW of generation is currently out of service for maintenance.
Tight conditions are not always a direct result of high demand for the electric system, ERCOT says. During the spring and fall seasons, electric demand (load) may be relatively low, but there are typically a large number of generators that are out of service for scheduled maintenance. As a result, there is less overall generation capacity available to serve electricity demand.
Additionally, the weather tends to fluctuate more during the spring and fall, resulting in a significant amount of variability on the electric system due to changing demand and renewable output.
Generating units are large machines that require periodic maintenance in order to sustain their performance during the summer. Typically, these outages occur during the spring months when demand tends to be lower, in order to ensure units are available during the summer months when demand is expected to be higher. The ERCOT market is also designed to financially incentivize generators to be available during summer peak demand periods.
“Just like maintaining your car, generators must be maintained to keep them running smoothly,” said Rickerson. “ERCOT must balance these necessary outages with serving load during the spring and fall months, especially given increased weather volatility.”