Texas Grid Issues Notice Ahead of Potential Emergency Next Week

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(Bloomberg) — The Texas electrical grid operator warned of a possible emergency early next week because of a potential shortfall of power reserves.

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Friday the grid may have deficient reserves from April 29 at 7 p.m. Central time through May 1 at 9 p.m. Ercot may delay or cancel planned power-plant outages and may need to shore up available supplies by about 2,800 megawatts.

Ercot has said it issues the warnings based on its analysis of various scenarios, but that they don’t reflect an expected deficiency. The group warned of a similar potential emergency this month, and even though the grid ultimately dodged that shortfall, spot power prices jumped to more than $4,000 a megawatt-hour to reflect tight conditions.

The Texas grid proved vulnerable in February 2021, when extreme weather left millions in the dark for days and killed more than 200 people. Signs of stress have since started to appear in the hot-weather months as electricity consumption soars, setting records nearly two dozen times in the previous two summers.

Grid conditions can be tight this time of the year because early heat can increase demand while supplies are hampered by scheduled maintenance in preparation for the summer air-conditioning season. The evening hours are especially vulnerable to shortages as solar power goes offline and other supply has to ramp up.

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