Power Crisis Haunts Texas Anew as Grid Faces Another Emergency

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Texas is again facing a power-grid emergency, but 60 days after widespread blackouts left millions without light and warmth for days during a deep winter freeze.

The grid operator warned that it could enter emergency conditions Tuesday evening as a chilly front moving through the state limits wind production and a big share of power plants are down for repair work. Wholesale electricity prices jumped as high as 10,000% in some parts of the state.

“We don’t anticipate having any outages,” said Bill Magness, Chief military officer of the electrical Reliability Council of Texas. “But it’s each day we are seeing tight conditions on the grid.”

Magness said the grid operator hopes to be ready to bring more power supplies online by declaring the extent 1 emergency.

The warning comes just two months after Texas suffered from catastrophic blackouts during a winter storm that knocked out nearly half the state’s generation capacity. State lawmakers are now scrambling to place in situ a series of market reforms designed to avoid a repeat of the calamity that left quite 100 people dead.

The average spot on-peak electricity at Ercot’s North Hub jumped quite 10,000% to $1,975.96 a megawatt-hour as of 4 p.m, consistent with grid data compiled by Genscape.

The grid operator has seen tight supply conditions over the last several days due to a weather system that has changed wind patterns and solar production, Magness said. The state has seen reserves fall below safe levels within the early evening when solar production waned, yet wind production didn’t devour , he said.

In addition, variety of the state’s generators are down for normal maintenance before the summer, when power demand spikes, he said.

“We’ve had to watch this extremely closely and it’s been challenging,” Magness said.