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ERCOT gets permission to bypass emission standards to keep power on

The Department of Energy gave ERCOT permission to bypass some emissions standards only after other options are exhausted.

HOUSTON — In an effort to preserve the grid's reliability, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas asked the Department of Energy to bypass certain emission standards to help keep the power on.

While ERCOT said it's been able to operate without any problems, its order received emergency approval from the DOE to bypass those environmental regulations so it can continue generating enough power.

The order will expire at 10 a.m. Christmas Day, unless ERCOT requests renewal before that.

Here's a real-time look at how the Texas power grid is holding up

Late Friday night, Governor Greg Abbott tweeted about the grid saying Thursday, "Texas had the highest power demand in any winter." He also said Friday was the second "highest demand day for winter power...no Texan has lost any power because of the ERCOT grid."

Despite that, critics are sounding off after ERCOT's seasonal forecast for peak demand was off by more than 10%.

"The professional integrity of forecast at ERCOT is really at issue," KHOU 11 Energy Expert Ed Hirs said. "They've lost a lot of credibility and they've done nothing to improve on that in the last two years...no one can plead incompetence at this point."

While Hirs said Texas may not see rolling blackouts this time, he said our grid still needs to be fixed.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Check power outages across the state

Earlier this month, CEO Pablo Vegas called the potential shortfall a "low-probability scenario" during ERCOT's board meeting.

“We continue to expect adequate supply with reserves for the approaching cold weather conditions,” Vegas said.

High demand is expected to continue today as power supplied by the wind is expected to drop off.

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