Ross Aten: ERCOT made it but the underlying problem remains making warnings & worries a bad “new normal” for Texans

The news of Texas covered today includes:

Our Lone Star story of the day: Electrical engineer Ross Aten, engineering manager for a Texas electric cooperative that works on both the ERCOT and Southwest Power Pool grids, explains that the fundamental weakness of the ERCOT grid (and others) still exists and as long as it does, a very bad “new normal” for Texas will be conservation calls from ERCOT and real worry of being pushed into load shedding (where your power is turned off to preserve generation and the grid.)

Aten explains why such such rolling load shedding is absolutely necessary to preserve the grid and generation facilities as well as why we are in the position of being very close to having to engage in such on a somewhat regular basis.

Beyond argument is the fact that unreliable generation resources make up too much of a percentage of ERCOT grid capacity and that these subsidized resources are driving away private investment in building reliable, dispatchable power generation facility such as those powered by natural gas. [See ERCOT grid fact sheet here.]

All one need do is see what happened during the danger hours on Monday and Tuesday morning, 15 and 16 January 2024. While wind generation was 28.6 percent of grid capacity it was only able to generate around 6.9 and 12.06 percent Monday and Tuesday respectively at 7:30 a.m. (much lower later in the day.) Solar was 0.00 and 0.05 percent respectively.

The chart shows clearly that reliable generation from fuels that can be turned up and down, on and off, when needed pulled all the weight in keeping the electric grid up and operating.

Natural gas was fueling 67.22 percent of what was on the grid when its percentage of grid capacity, from the fact sheet, is only 41.8 percent of the ERCOT grid!

To learn much more about how all operates with Ross Aten, visit:

Our Lone Star story of the day is sponsored by Allied Compliance Services providing the best service in DOT, business and personal drug and alcohol testing since 1995.

This is a very good follow-up story: It’s Official: Winter is Becoming the New Summer by Brent Bennett, Ph.D.

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