Why have Texas power stations stopped working despite peak demand?  - energy

Postponing maintenance operations for natural gas power plants in Texas has caused 6 plants to stop working, at a time when demand is above normal levels; Because of a severe heat wave that hits across the United States of America.

And last Thursday, May 12, the Texas Electricity Reliability Board, “Irkut”, asked a few power plants to postpone scheduled shutdowns for maintenance, to help the network meet demand during the heat wave, and then as temperatures rose, 6 plants stopped. For gas to stop working, the network lost nearly 2,900 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 580,000 homes.

Among the stopped stations is the gas station owned by the giant energy company “Kalpin”, which has been disrupted because some of its equipment stopped working properly.

Reasons for power plant failure

On Friday, May 13, several power plants were disrupted and unable to generate current, after agreeing to a request by the Electricity Reliability Council, to postpone the planned maintenance operations, according to the statements of the Executive Director of the Federation of State Energy Representatives (TCPA), Michael. Richmond.

And temperatures in Texas rose, last Saturday, May 14, by about 10 to 15 degrees from normal levels, to the nineties on the Fahrenheit scale, before rising to 100 degrees, on Sunday.

Temperatures rose between 100 and 105 degrees in the center and west of the state, exceeding normal levels by about 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Our companies want to operate in the height of summer, and they want to be present when customers need us to provide energy reliably and safely,” Richmond says in comments to the Texas Tribune newspaper, reported by Grid Brief.

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Gas-fired power plant southwest of Dallas, Texas

He continued, “Part of the power plant’s reliability is to carry out planned maintenance on time, not only to operate safely, but to achieve optimum performance.”

On the evening of Friday, May 13, the Texas Electricity Reliability Board requested that thermostats be raised and set to 78 degrees on the weekend, and that electrical appliances should be avoided during the hottest hours of the day to reduce stress on the power grid.

Reducing power plant maintenance times

The Texas Public Utilities Commission is discussing a new measure that would reduce power plant shutdowns during maintenance, as the commission seeks to avert the massive blackout disaster experienced by Storm Yuri. Last year, many Texans were plunged into darkness, and hundreds were killed.

In February of last year, more than 200 residents of the state died of hypothermia, a disease caused by continuous exposure to low temperatures, as a result of power outages in the country.

Power plants in the United States usually perform maintenance during the month of May, before the summer heat heats up.

Irkut expects electricity demand in Texas to break a record during the summer, reaching 77,317 megawatts.

Daniel Cohan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, told the Texas Tribune that Texas is expected to experience rising temperatures in the coming decades; Because of climate change, which will put more pressure on the old power plants in the state, which usually perform maintenance during the spring and fall seasons.

power stations

Renewable energy

This decision comes at a time when the state of Texas is reducing investment in reliable generation of electricity from gas stations, while it is overinvesting in renewable sources, especially solar energy.

Solar and wind energy recorded a 34% share in the electricity production mix in Texas, with an increase for each of them up to 71%, compared to an increase in demand during the same period, by 9%.

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Solar panels – archive

The Texas Electricity Reliability Council targets 12,785 megawatts of solar capacity, more than double the planned 6,241 megawatt wind capacity, and nearly three times the 4,595 megawatt planned storage capacity.

During the first quarter, electricity production in Texas from renewable sources outperformed that of gas, which recorded 31.25%.

American West

Currently, there are two regions in the United States that do not belong to regulated electricity markets: the Broad West and the Southeast.

“This is going to change,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick said at the Clean Power 2022 conference, organized by the American Clean Energy Association.

He added, “I strongly believe that there will be an organized market for electricity in the West, in the coming years.”

Regulated energy markets often call them “regional transportation organizations,” which are overseen by independent system operators.

A regulated market for electricity in the West requires the integration of the Northwest and Southwest into the California energy market.

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