3 Reasons Texas’ Electric Grid Survived A Summer That Pushed Its Limits
- November 5, 2018
- 1099 views
As the hot summer approached,
Power outage concerns
Hotter temperatures and continued population and commercial growth drove record electricity demand this past summer. Additionally, in early 2018, Luminant (now Vistra) shut down three large coal plants – all inefficient and highly-polluting – with a combined capacity of 4,200 megawatts (MW).
The shutdown of these power plants and other changes in the electricity market initially led the state’s electric grid operator, the
As it turned out, even when
Here are three reasons:
1. State regulators encouraged power plants to properly plan for summer maintenance, while encouraging transmission and distribution companies to minimize maintenance during hours of peak demand;
2. High wholesale prices incentivized power plants to be online to make more electricity; and
3. Wind and solar plants produced more power than anticipated.
3 reasons Texas’ electric grid survived a summer that pushed its limitsCLICK TO TWEET
The regulators also worked with companies that retail electricity to customers, to ensure smooth customer transitions if a seller exited the market.
The grid operated well under stress.
Power plants were also ready for higher projected wholesale electricity prices, and the competitive market responded appropriately to increased demand with increased wholesale energy prices.
In fact, increased demand and less reserves led to a 25-percent increase in the number of instances wholesale electricity prices were higher during June to
Distributed energy resources (DER) in
A noteworthy summer finding is, at grid points connected to about 100 mapped and registered DER (mainly small natural-gas generators),
Reduced demand makes the grid more reliable. It’s good that
Over the summer, both wind and solar power plants delivered more electricity to the grid than
In addition, customers have connected to the grid and registered 244 MW of distributed, clean-energy generation, which includes solar. Customers have also connected about 181 MW of unregistered DER, mostly solar.
And though storage currently makes up a very small portion of the
The PUC is now analyzing the market’s summer performance for lessons that can help prepare for next summer and beyond. One issue is whether the Operating Reserve Demand Curve – a value added to wholesale electricity prices to further reflect the scarcity of reserves when demand is high – worked as intended. Another issue PUC will consider is the argument by some thermal power plants that costs incurred to ensure reliable operations during the summer were not adequately compensated by market prices.
The state’s businesses and citizens are increasingly exercising their ability to choose the power source that makes the electricity they use. Their preferences, and new technologies like large-scale energy storage, are changing Texas’ generation mix. With continued forethought, state regulators can keep protecting both the competitive market and grid reliability as more uneconomic coal plants shut down and wind and solar power continue to grow.
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