As clouds threaten the availability of necessary solar power, the operator of the Texas electricity system has urged customers to use less energy.
For the second time in three days, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas requested that businesses and residents voluntarily reduce their energy use due to the ongoing heat wave.
Following up on Monday’s call for conservation, Wednesday’s notice urges people to practice conservation from 2 to 9 p.m. Residents are urged to set their thermostats to 78 degrees and delay using large appliances like dishwashers or dryers during this time.
In contrast to Monday’s request, ERCOT listed forced thermal outages and solar power as two key causes of the grid supply reduction on Wednesday.
A representative for ERCOT claims that the amount of solar generation has decreased as a result of growing cloud cover in West Texas.
This particular element is important since Texas frequently suffers heat and low wind, which increase the demand for electricity and reduce the amount of natural energy obtained from wind, but very infrequently cut off access to its solar energy.
The percentage of dispatchable energy installed during Wednesday’s peak hour was 84 percent, while the percentage of solar power was 68 percent, according to data from ERCOT.
At the day’s tightest hour, wind, typically a minor contributor during periods of extreme heat, was barely 12 percent installed capacity.
According to Texas energy consultant Doug Lewin, the state’s power grid now contains three times as much solar energy as it did 18 months ago and twice as much as it did last summer.
Lewin claims that on Monday, Texas produced the most solar energy ever. According to Lewin, it is the use of renewable energy sources like solar energy that allows the grid to maintain power and prevent blackouts.
Despite the need for conservation, demand has increased due to the state being exceptionally dry and hot.
The National Weather Service predicted that Austin, which has maintained its triple digit temperatures throughout the week, would have a heat index of 110 degrees on Wednesday.
With a high of 104 on Wednesday, San Antonio is expected to remain above 100 degrees for the remainder of the week.
Dallas, in northeast Texas, will likewise remain in the triple digits on Wednesday, with a heat index of 105.
Power demand this week has already shattered two records due to the ongoing heat.
Demand reached a record high of 78,264 megawatts on Monday, while ERCOT encouraged volunteer energy saving.
That record was once more broken on Tuesday, when demand peaked at 78,419 megawatts.
ERCOT predicts that demand on Wednesday will be 78,451 megawatts, breaking that record once more.
Texas only has 906 megawatts of extra electricity on hand, according to an ERCOT spokeswoman, which is less than the anticipated day demand.
According to data from ERCOT, that amount is less than half the amount at which the system must begin taking emergency action.
The power grid reports that users reduced their energy consumption by 500 megawatts on Monday as a result of the conservation campaign.
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