It was a scorching weekend. Monday isn’t much better, and temperatures are still high. The National Weather Service issued a First Alert Weather Day until the evening of July 11, and ERCOT released a Conservation Appeal asking Texan residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve electricity. The conservation window will last between 2-8 p.m. Monday.
Update 7/12/22 – 12:00 p.m. CenterPoint announced on Twitter that ERCOT has returned to normal and conservation is no longer needed. ERCOT reports that customers voluntarily shut down nearly 500 MW from 1:56 to 2:00 p.m., enough to power 100,000 homes. The original story continues bellow.
The state’s electric grid operator works with a reserve amount of electricity to rely on in case demand exceeds supply. The high temperatures forecasted for the week will result in higher electricity demand during peak hours, so conserving power during the six-hour window on Monday could be critical to preventing an energy emergency alert and avoiding controlled outages.
According to ERCOT’s release, conservation is a tool used when projected reserves fall below 2300 MW for over 30 minutes. This allows for the successful management of grid operations and avoids an energy emergency amidst the extreme heat. As advised by the Public Utility Commission, some of the best ways to reduce electricity use include turning up the thermostats one or two degrees and postponing running major appliances and pool pumps during peak hours.
This appeal comes at a time ERCOT reports keep breaking records of demand. During June, the power demand was over 76,600 megawatts, and last Friday, the hottest day of the year so far, there was an all-time demand record of 78,418 megawatts.
While June’s demand was eased by solar and wind energy, this time around wind power will generate only 8% of its capacity during the conservation window thanks to the low wind. Instead, ERCOT will rely on dispatchable energy from natural gas power plants to generate the bulk of electricity during those hours.
Although ERCOT said that “no system-wide outages are expected,” according to the operator, via The Dallas Morning News, Sunday’s projections indicated Monday could reach its all-time electricity demand with 80 gigawatts in the afternoon. This would be above what ERCOT had predicted for the summer demand peak.