AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the second time in three days, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking Texans to voluntarily conserve power as grid conditions tighten during intense summer heat.
The request is for peak usage hours between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday, ERCOT said, which is the same time frame as Monday
ERCOT says this request is not an emergency alert but a voluntary appeal. Currently, no system-wide outages are expected.
The “conservation alert” is one step above “normal” grid conditions and one below the first emergency alert level.
ERCOT said conservation notices are given when projected energy reserves fall below 2,300 MW for at least 30 minutes.
As a reminder, local outages are still possible in this extreme heat. That could include a tree branch falling on a transmission line or a car crashing into a pole. Local outages do not indicate greater grid issues. Be sure to contact your local power provider if your power does go out.
What are the reasons for the conservation request?
ERCOT provided several reasons for Wednesday’s request, including record-high demand and low wind.
- Record high electric demand: The heat wave that has settled on Texas and much of the central United States is driving increased electric use. Other grid operators are operating under similar conservative operations programs as ERCOT due to the heatwave.
- Low wind: Wind generation is currently generating less than what is historically generated in this time period.
- Forced thermal outages: The number of forced outages in thermal generation exceeds ERCOT forecasts.
- Solar: Developing cloud cover in West Texas has reduced the amount of solar generation.
This developing story will be updated.