s the Texas power grid really running short of available capacity in early May? Grid managers at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) are apparently concerned about it.
The Houston Chronicle reported on Monday that ERCOT officials are asking power generators to put off planned maintenance outages and bring some inactive natural gas and coal-fired plants back online in anticipation of a round of fairly high temperatures in the state this coming weekend. ERCOT believes demand on the grid could spike to almost 70 gigawatts as temperatures rise into the 90s in major population centers and even over 100 degrees in deep South and far West Texas on Saturday.
While that level of demand would be a record high for the state in May, you have to wonder why it would come as a surprise to anyone, given the state’s booming economy and rapid population growth. Temperatures at these levels are not at all unprecedented in Texas, after all, and one would think that all the new wind and solar capacity that has been added to the system since last year should be able to fill in any gap, if indeed wind and solar can be relied upon to do that in any real way.