TEXAS — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s electric grid, on Thursday said that following inspections the grid is ready to go for the winter. It might get its first test as soon as this weekend.
In a news release, the agency said it “has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterization efforts, and inspection results show the independently-owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather.”
“Inspections were completed at more than 300 electric generation units, representing 85 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities,” ERCOT continued.
A cold front arriving in Texas Saturday into Sunday is projected to plunge parts of the state into freezing temperatures for the first time since February, when a winter storm devastated the state, pushing the grid to the point of complete failure, knocking out power to millions of Texans and ultimately causing the deaths of at least 210 people, according to figures released by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, vice president of grid planning and weatherization. “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”
ERCOT said 302 generation resources were inspected, some of which exceeded winterization requirements and 10 of which required “correction.”
It additionally said it inspected 22 transmission station facilities and found six had potential deficiencies, which ERCOT assures have been rectified.
While power plants and electricity providers are being required to winterize, energy experts say the same isn’t true for natural gas facilities, which are overseen by the Railroad Commission.
The Railroad Commission recently passed a rule requiring essential natural gas facilities to register as “critical infrastructure” so they won't be impacted by rolling blackouts in severe weather.
But that doesn’t currently include any weatherization requirements, and won’t, until officials have completed a map of the natural gas supply chain.