Texas ERCOT power shortages (again) April 13

Mark Tinka mark at tinka.africa
Wed Apr 14 04:54:55 UTC 2021


On 4/14/21 03:49, Sean Donelan wrote:
>
> ERCOT ISO Texas has announced the end of today's emergency energy 
> conservation appeal due to a shortage of generation capacity and 
> higher than forecasted demand caused by a cold front.
>
> No this is not an old message. Yep, Texas is having power shortages 
> again in mild April weather.

So looks like ERCOT have 32,000MW of capacity offline for maintenance 
and repairs, which they claim is not unusual for this time of the year 
as they gear up for the summer. So generation capacity was only 
50,000MW, while demand was 49,000MW. 1,000MW in reserve is right on the 
nose. Solar production was also down by 3,000MW due to cloudy skies.

Fundamentally, the outlook for energy production, globally, is not that 
great. Operators are going to have a tougher and tougher time meeting 
demand as electrification increases, consumer demand increases, and the 
pressure to use more renewables increases.

Considering that supply and demand must always be balanced, it's a 
little hard for operators to be conscious about their sources of energy 
while consumers continue to live as normal. There has been plenty of 
talk about IDSM (integrated demand side management) through automation 
with smart grids that can control when folk use appliances, remotely. 
But practically, most DSM measures will be led by deliberate behavioural 
changes, through appeals like the one ERCOT made for folk to conserve 
energy. That won't ramp-down demand as fast as operators would like, and 
with our habits of flipping switches and expecting the lights to come on 
and the kettles to boil, it's not a small problem.

Even as I support renewable plants, I am not yet fully convinced that a 
quick and massive decommissioning of fossil fuels for base load 
generation is feasible.

I believe the success of renewable generation capacity (coupled with 
storage) lies in distributed delivery through community micro grids, and 
not grid-scale deployment.

Mark.


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