As controlled blackouts roll across Texas’ ERCOT electricity grid due to freezing weather, here’s some information resources that may help understand what’s going on. Hopefully this information and others will help answer the question, “Why were their blackouts when electricity demand is higher in August? A/C is all electric. Heat is electric and natural gas, yet news outlets report power plants going off line as the cause of the rolling blackouts.”
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is the agency that manages Texas’ grid as well as its electricity markets. The Texas grid is an entity unto itself, mainly disconnected from the rest of the US. This means there’s no chance for an uncontrolled blackout to enter or exit the ERCOT system.
They’re really busy today, which is probably why there’s little information available as of noon. They should be holding press conferences to match the news media’s deadlines and sources tell me to look out for a report tomorrow detailing what happened today.
ERCOT congestion information. (Down as of noon 2-2-11)
Houston Outtage Map (Centerpoint Energy) (unavailable during outtage. Huh?)
More on Texas’ new Nodal Market
Public Citizen’s blog post on ERCOT putting to bed their old system the day before the storm.
ERCOT explains the nodal market the best it can.
Texas Public Utility Commision (PUCTX)
While most information from the PUCTX (and ERCOT for that matter) makes the most sense to policy geeks, there’s still a lot of good information available, especially in the Commissioner’s Power Point presentations. When they talk to conference and trade associations, they have to explain what they do to people who aren’t policy wonks, so they have to be clear. You can benefit.
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