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Heatwave puts stress on Texas' power grid

ERCOT said it expects to have enough capacity to meet energy demand during normal conditions and most other conditions.

HOUSTON — In a new report released Tuesday afternoon, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it expects to have enough capacity to meet energy demand during normal conditions and most other conditions.

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

ERCOT is predicting a new record for peak summer demand this year. It said there are two "extreme risk scenarios" that would leave the Texas power grid without enough juice to go around.

Last year's ERCOT report listed three extreme scenarios and the shortfall in the 2022 worst-case prediction isn't as large as it was in 2021. It's a difference of about 1.4 million homes worth of power.

Last week, about 20,000 megawatts of capacity were offline for maintenance, remediation and refurbishment. This week, it's 10,000 megawatts, which is enough to power about 2 million homes during a heatwave like the one we're dealing with right now.

KHOU 11 energy expert Ed Hirs said it's a symptom of what happens when there's underinvestment in equipment over time.

For example, one unit in Richmond is still down due to a fire last week.

“That one unit is 1% of the available capacity on the ERCOT grid, and as we know, 1% here, 2% there ... it makes a big difference when it gets hot (and) the wind stops blowing," Hirs said.

Hirs said solar and wind capacity are critical to quickly meet demand since they make up between 10% to 15% of daily demand.

ERCOT asked Texans to conserve power by setting thermostats at 70 degrees over the weekend, but that request has not been extended into this week.

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