Texas operators’ group now investigating causes of power plant breakdowns.
In February, we reported that a winter storm left millions without power throughout the American midwest. The outages hit Texas hard, especially after pursuing wind-power options that failed in the extreme cold.
Now, as a massive heatwave strikes the region, the state faces blackouts all over again.
Temperatures are expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius in Houston as a heat wave that’s expected to drag on through the end of the week blankets the western half of the US. The extreme weather is testing Texas’s power grid just four months after a freak winter storm blacked out millions of people across the state and left more than 150 people dead.
Another hot day is expected today, with locations all across North & Central TX expected to warm into the mid to upper 90s this afternoon.
The searing weather marks the first heat-related stress tests of the year for U.S. electricity grids as a historic drought grips the western half of the nation. It comes nearly one year after California witnessed its own rolling blackouts during a heat wave last summer.
A large number of power plants have unexpectedly shut down, clearly not rising to the conditions. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) promised to investigate the many repair and maintenance issues.
The company, which controls about 90 percent of the state’s power, urged residents to reduce their electric use throughout the week, saying demand was reaching supply levels.
The conservation alert comes only four months after the state plunged into a freezing blackout that left millions without power in winter storms that killed at least 150 people.
In a press release, officials said the problem was the result of “a significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June.”
Several plants have been taken down for repairs and maintenance issues, around three to four times the usual number for this time of year, according to NBC5.
The broken plants put Texans at risk of power outages and blackouts as temperatures are expected to continue to rise.
“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson said. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”
Meanwhile, ERCOT pleaded with residents Monday to limit their electrical usage.
Officials with the nonprofit group, which oversees 90 percent of Texas’ energy production, asked residents to set their thermostats higher, turn off lights and avoid using larger appliances until Friday.
A spokeswoman for the group told reporters that the outages accounted for more than 12,000 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million homes. Some areas of the state, including Dallas and Tarrant counties, were warned about poor air quality and potentially dangerous heat, with the heat index approaching 110 degrees.
The index in Houston also topped 100 degrees.
Long-time Texas residents might choose to blame all the Californians who moved there. Californians, on the other hand, will feel right at home.DONATE
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