Focus at Four: Department of Energy gives ERCOT permission to exceed air quality limits

KBTX First News at Four EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 4:38 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas recently received permission from the U.S. Department of Energy to exceed normal air quality restrictions.

The emergency request was approved in December 2022 ahead of Christmas when the state experienced a drastic drop in temperatures statewide.

According to the Texas Tribune, the request would allow Texas power plans to release more pollution than is normally allowed — if grid conditions worsen.

“They asked for this request so they could tap into a couple of different ways to produce more power,” said Emily Foxhall, The Texas Tribune.

“During Winter Storm Yuri, they had to issue blackouts. It was looking like the demand for power was going to exceed how much power there really was needed, so they wanted to be sure they weren’t going to do that again in such a widespread manner.”

Foxhall said that ERCOT ended up not using the emergency request.