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ERCOT warns hot weather this weekend could lead to 'larger than normal' power demand in Texas

Shelby Webb, Houston Chronicle  


    May 4—Officials with Texas' grid manager say that "extreme hot weather" expected to blanket Texas from Friday through Monday may lead to "larger than normal demand for power."

    ERCOT officials said they plan to postpone planned power generation outages, usually done for maintenance, in order to serve the state this weekend.

    The officials wrote that they will use all the tools they have to manage the grid reliably through the weekend.

    "At this time, ERCOT projects there will be sufficient generation to meet this high demand for electricity," they wrote in an email to media.

    Space City Weather reported Wednesday morning that this weekend's weather conditions could feel more like late July than early May, with highs in Houston reaching the mid- or upper-90s. Central and West Texas could see high temperatures reach 100 degrees or above. Temperatures in parts of South Texas could reach 108 degrees, according to WeatherBell Analyitics.

    ERCOT struggled to meet demand at points last spring and summer, months after the February 2021 freeze led to an enormous drop in power generation and subsequent blackouts, which have been blamed for hundreds of deaths after millions statewide lost power, in some cases for days.

    In April 2021, ERCOT asked Texans to conserve electricity after a high number of power plants went offline for maintenance and demand for power ended up being higher than officials predicted.

    And in mid-June 2021, ERCOT released another conservation notice, that time lasting five days. The grid manager said that about 15 percent of the system's capacity went offline, while demand headed toward a record 73,000 megawatts. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes on a hot summer day.

    After the grid survived a cold snap in February, which was more mild than the February 2021 freeze, Gov. Greg Abbott said that the major issues with the grid had been fixed.

    "As I said yesterday, and I can say again today, the Texas electric grid is more reliable and more resilient than it's ever been," Abbott said.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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