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Will The Texas Power Grid Survive Next Week’s Polar Vortex?

Will The Texas Power Grid Survive Next Week’s Polar Vortex?

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts extreme cold weather “across the heart of the country this weekend and is expected to continue into next week.” We previewed this cold blast in a note titled Gobsmackingly Bananas”: Weather Models Predict Polar Vortex Invasion Into US.

Whenever cold air spills south from Canada into the Heartland, attention usually shifts to Texas.

Next, power demand forecasts from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the power grid operator for Texas, are analyzed to see if demand forecasts exceed supply. Current forecasts show ERCOT faces the first major test of grid stability for the new year.

And this:

ERCOT has warned its 26 million Texas customers about the upcoming cold blast this weekend into next week. The grid operator assures customers, “Grid conditions are expected to be normal, and ERCOT expects to have sufficient supply to meet demand.”

Energy-focused research firm Criterion Research told clients in a note Wednesday that ERCOT will likely survive the big cold shot:

 ERCOT has issued an Operating Condition Notice (OCN) for the upcoming cold weather event forecast from January 15-17, 2024. The OCN is the first of four levels of communication provided by the agency ahead of a possible Emergency Condition – the following three levels would be Energy Emergency Levels 1 through 3.

ERCOT’s current forecast run shows extreme demand conditions starting on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. That includes a projected peak load of 85,587 MW at 7 AM that morning. However, renewable generation from wind and solar are expected to help out as demand pushes to a seasonal record, with early morning wind + solar contribution 14,137 MW.

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