“17 Jan 2018 – Bitter cold across Texas brought a new winter record for peak electricity use, ERCOT, the state’s independent electric grid operator announced Wednesday morning.”
At one point, Texans were using 65,731 megawatts, blowing past the previous record by nearly 5 percent.
Overnight, temperature in the Dallas area dropped to 13F (-10.6C), well below the average low of 34F (1.1C).
SAN ANTONIO – A new record was set Wednesday in Texas for winter electricity use.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the flow of electricity in the state, said 65,731 megawatts of power was consumed between 7 and 8 a.m. amid frigid temperatures. The record before Wednesday’s consumption was 62,855 megawatts, which was set two weeks ago.
The state needs coal, natural gas and nuclear plants to meet electricity demand, but the problem for power companies is they only make money when their plants are running, not while waiting for the wind to stop blowing and the sun to stop shining. In the past, earnings from summer price spikes more than covered the costs of maintaining plants that operated at less than full capacity and kept companies profitable.
But that’s no longer the case as spikes come less frequently, reducing the incentives for companies to keep plants operating or ready to operate. ERCOT has had to invoke its emergency authority to postpone the shutdown of a power plant – a rare move – and negotiated an agreement with NRG last year to keep operating its Greens Bayou plant east of Houston to protect system integrity.
“There is a lot of uncertainty,” said Robbie Searcy, ERCOT’s spokesperson. “We do expect that some plants will retire. We don’t know which ones or when.”
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While CPS Energy also set an energy-use record two weeks ago during the last cold snap, not as much power was consumed Tuesday and Wednesday, thanks in part to the utility getting the word out early to its customers to conserve energy, and businesses staggering start times for employees, CPS Energy CEO and President Paula Gold-Williams said.
“We’ve asked people to really try to still control — not turning on all their lights, Gold-Williams said. “The staggered start times across the business community have been extremely helpful. We even asked our employees not to start until 11:30. We wanted to make sure that we were not creating extra drag on the systems.”
Earlier, there was talk of statewide blackouts, but Gold-Williams said clearing skies Wednesday led to warmer temperatures.
Although the state escaped the threat of rolling blackouts this time around, Gold-Williams said winter isn’t over.
“This can happen at any point in time,” she said. “Because we are connected to a massive grid, the grid itself — we look at every major operator and provider of power and everyone puts in as much power from their generation as they can. But of course, when the weather is extreme, that means there is more demand for power. And there is a possibility when you look at the entire state that there could be more demand than there is power available.”
REMEMBER TEXAS HAS THE LARGEST WIND GENERATION.
CPS Energy said customers can conserve energy throughout the winter by observing the following tips:
Set your thermostat between 68 to 70 degrees when home. Set it lower when away at work or school.
Use ceiling fans at lowest setting in reverse mode to circulate warm air in rooms in use.
Limit use of washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and water heaters during peak times.
Turn off electrical appliances and unplug chargers not in use.
Turn electrical heaters and lights off when not needed or the room or area is empty.
Avoid using too many electric items at the same time.
Layer clothing to keep warm at home.
Close exterior doors and windows to keep the cold out and reduce the running time of the heating system.
Seal any holes or gaps with towels or other material to keep cold air from coming in and heat from escaping.
During the day, open window blinds and curtains if the sun is shining to let in the sun’s warmth.
Purchase surge protectors with the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency like Underwriter Laboratories to protect your equipment and appliances. Be sure to note wattage capacity, and do not overload the surge protectors.
Fifteen years after deregulation, should Texas revamp its power markets?
Paying power companies to act as backups for renewable sources would keep Texas’ power mix diverse and stave off a reliability crisis, said Tom Alley, the vice president of research at the Electric Power Research Institute, a Washington nonprofit funded by the electric utility industry.
“But there is no economic driver to do that other than the capacity fleet,” he said, referring to reserve energy that companies in other states get paid to run, like getting paid for time sitting on the bench. “The greatest challenge is that we don’t have a way to value diversity and we don’t have a way to value flexibility.”
Global Cooling: Are You Ready for the Real Climate Change?
By Rod Van Mechelen
The mainstream fake news media and the political establishment want you to believe that CO2 is causing global warming and that you are responsible. But the truth is that global warming is part of a long cycle, and because we are unprepared for global cooling, billions will die.
The Big Chill
2018 Olympia, Wash. – Truckloads of government money have gone to prove that you are responsible for global warming climate change and, like in the movies, we have to sacrifice virgins to the weather gods to…sorry, wrong epoch. Correction: we have to sacrifice your standard of living to Al Gore to save the planet 100 years from now. Except that they’re lying and expect billions of us to die within ten years.
The truth is that global warming stopped in 1998. Global cooling began in 2015. And within a few years at most the world is likely to experience crop-destroying extreme weather events.
At worst this could be the end of the current interglacial period, also known as the Holocene, and a resumption of the ice age. The middle case is that the solar hibernation will be as extreme as it was during what is called the Little Ice Age, which began around 1645 and ended around 1850.
Whatever the case, the global climate is going to grow dangerously colder. It’s not the cold that will pose the danger, however, but the unseasonable weather it will bring. Some parts of the world, like the west coast of North America, could actually get warmer. East of the Cascades, however, it will probably get much colder. And with increasing frequency, growing seasons around the planet will be interrupted by extreme weather events, like devastating frosts, snow, hail and flooding in late spring or early autumn that will destroy crops and cause food shortages. It has happened before, and it has already started to happen again.
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