ERCOT and PUC provide update on Texas power grid ahead of winter

Peter Lake, the head of the Public Utility Commission was pretty clear, the lights will stay on this winter.
KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 9:29 PM CST
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AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - Peter Lake, the head of the Public Utility Commission was pretty clear, the lights will stay on this winter.

The 2022-23 Winter Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report released Tuesday shows a number of different power and weather scenarios. The report does show one scenario where the supply might not meet demand.

There’s three things to take away from Tuesday’s 30-minute press conference about the report.

One, there’s more demand, around 5 gigawatts more this year, because there’s more people.

“Texas is adding a city the size of Corpus Christi every single year in population and the associated economic growth that comes with that is driving increased usage on the grid,” ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said.

Two, the changes made in the wake of the February 2021 Winter Storm. Lake started Tuesday’s press conference by outlining most of those changes which included the weatherization of generators and inspections among others.

“And most importantly we have dramatically increased and improved communication between the railroad commission, TXDot, TDEM, and TCEQ, the PUC, and ERCOT,” Lake said. “We know the reforms are working. We know that these changes have had an impact and improved reliability and we expect they’ll continue to do so.”

Both Lake and Vegas also pointed out the newly proposed Phase 2 Market Redesign put out earlier this month. In part, it could put financial penalties to both generators and providers if demands aren’t met. The proposal is still in the public comment phase.

Three, the SARA report doesn’t consider any actual weather forecasting or the changing climate, something Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences with Texas A&M said is at the detriment of Texans.

“These projections are all based on historical data, they don’t use climate models, they don’t believe, they don’t acknowledge climate change, they’re not using the most modern tools,” Dessler said.