Texas Puts Out Energy Rationing Alerts Amid ‘Unseasonably Low Wind’

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Nick Pope Contributor
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Texas’ grid operator asked its customers to preserve energy this week amid “unseasonably low wind.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has asked its more than 25 million customers to conserve as much energy as they safely can on Monday and Tuesday morning this week as a cold snap takes hold over the state. ERCOT’s Monday conservation appeal cites “record-breaking demand and unseasonably low wind” as the key reasons behind potential supply adequacy issues.

“ERCOT continues to monitor conditions and will provide updates through our communication channels,” a spokesperson for ERCOT told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “At this time, any outages are local in nature, and not related to overall grid reliability.” (RELATED: ‘Climate Idealism Meets The Reality’: Green Energy Failed To Meet Power Demand When It Was Most Needed)

The cold weather has diminished ERCOT’s ability to generate solar and wind power, while coal, natural gas and nuclear are supplying nearly 85% of the grid’s supply, according to ERCOT’s fuel mix dashboard. Wind was supplying about 7% of ERCOT’s electricity at 8 a.m on Monday, compared to 15% at the same time on Sunday.

In February 2021, a brutal cold snap plunged the state into blackouts as wind turbines froze over and were rendered useless by the conditions.

“The fact that the wind tends to die down in Texas as temperatures drop below freezing is one of the most well-known aspects of the weather. Virtually the entire state was below freezing Sunday and Monday. There is nothing at all ‘unseasonable’ about the low winds — it’s just ERCOT trying to provide public relations cover for an unreliable, weather dependent generation source,” David Blackmon, a 40-year veteran of the oil and gas business who now writes and consults on the energy sector from his home in Texas, told the DCNF regarding the conservation appeal. “Experts I have spoken with think there will be enough thermal generation capacity available to compensate for the failure of the wind and solar and battery sectors to perform. But that is dependent on the ability to prevent natural gas production, pipeline and generation facilities online.”

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbot said Friday that grid infrastructure and operators are much better-positioned to handle the cold snap than was the case with the 2021 winter storm and subsequent crisis, which directly or indirectly took the lives of more than 240 people in the state, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

The Monday appeal is in place from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time, while the Tuesday appeal covers 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. ERCOT narrowly avoided rolling blackouts in the summer of 2023, when an extended period of high temperatures drove up demand while wind power came up short.

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