Energy Analytics Power and Renewables

Why ERCOT Outage Scares Are Vexing Texas in Mild Weather

byScott Bruns

The threats of ERCOT power blackouts are emerging again this spring, just two months after millions of Texans survived freezing temperatures without heat or power during extended blackouts in February 2021.

On Tuesday, April 13, Texas’ power grid again faced failure as extended maintenance work and unseasonable weather patterns brought typical supply levels lower. ERCOT called for power conservation, and averted crisis by the evening, rescinding the request.

By Wednesday, April 14, Texas was again at risk for blackouts due to power supply issues. ERCOT declared it would be “capacity insufficient” from 1-8 p.m CDT. This means ERCOT does not have enough reserves and will ask people in Texas to conserve power again.

Today's Outlook - Current Demand

This is being caused by a weather pattern that is unusually warm for this time of year in South Texas. The results: strong demand and on-peak wind generation that is 6.5 gigawatts, compared with average April wind generation of 11 gigawatts. Solar generation was also lower. It hit only 38% during peak load on April 14, while the average is 72%.

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The weather isn’t totally to blame for the power supply issues, of course. The large number of units that are offline for maintenance following the winter storm is also driving this shortage. The reported telemetered outages on April 14 is 21.1 gigawatts, where normally ERCOT would be measuring around 14.5 gigawatts of outages in ERCOT for the third week of April.

Want to learn more from our experts about the stability of the ERCOT grid for summer 2021? Sign up today for our complimentary webinar: ERCOT Outage Deep Dive & Summer 2021 Outlook.

Web presentation - ERCOT Outage Deep Dive and Summer 2021 Outlook

Scott Bruns

Scott Bruns

Scott D Bruns is the Director of Power Markets at Enverus, leading the research division who specialize in analyzing large datasets for informed decision-making. As an expert in the ERCOT market, he provides comprehensive reports on market trends for various stakeholders. Leveraging his background in power trading and asset management, Scott contributes to the development of innovative SaaS products and offers expertise on US power market fundamentals. As an Enverus spokesperson, he guides clients in asset siting, trading optimization, and investment decisions. Prior to joining Enverus, Scott traded power and provided in fundamental analysis at Direct Energy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Houston. When not obsessed with power markets, Scott spends time with his family who provide the inspiration for all his efforts.

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