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Expect rolling outages this summer; Texas ‘will be relying on renewables’

Chapman Ranch wind turbines

Cotton grows between rows of wind turbines on Chapman Ranch, located 7 miles south of the Corpus Christi Airport. The windmills provide electricity to the state of Texas through Rhythm, a renewable energy company. Photo courtesy of Rhythm

Texans can expect rolling outages this summer, Pedernales Electric Cooperative CEO Julie Parsley told the Board of Directors during its regular meeting on May 19. 

Also, a second peak demand time at 9 p.m. was added. Consumers are now asked to conserve energy between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

“There is not going to be enough dispatchable energy to meet the peak demand,” said Parsley in her report to the board, meaning peak demand will exceed available power from coal, nuclear, and natural gas facilities. 

Parsley was relating information from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which recently announced that the state’s power supply might not meet consumer demands during times of extreme heat. Summer outages should not last long or be as disruptive as winter outages.  

According to ERCOT, the 5 p.m. peak demand is expected to reach just under 83 megawatts, while the 9 p.m. peak could reach 77 megawatts. Total dispatchable resources at all hours are expected to be at 74 megawatts. At peak demand times, around 97,000 megawatts could be available but only with the help of renewables.  

“We will be relying on renewables,” Parsley said. “If it’s hot, let’s hope the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Then it will be fine.”

The National Weather Service has predicted above-average summer temperatures this year. 

To help conserve electricity, run major appliances outside of peak times and pre-cool your home before 2 p.m. Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and only use a fan when the room is occupied. 

PEC members can track their energy usage on devices by downloading the PEC SmartHub app or on the web portal. For more information, call 888-554-4732.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story used the term “brownout” in the first sentence in a way that implied that Pedernales Electric Cooperative CEO Julie Parsley had said the word in her report to the Board of Directors. She did not use that word, which is not an industry term. A brownout is a reduction in the availability of electrical power. The term is commonly used in reporting but not by industrial officials. regrets the possible misinterpretation.

4 thoughts on “Expect rolling outages this summer; Texas ‘will be relying on renewables’

  1. Texas needs to learn how to store energy produced from wind AND solar AND natural gas AND hydroelectricity (i.e., diversity). And we shouldn’t forget that not winterizing those do-no-wrong natural gas plants is the primary reason the grid failed during the winter storm, but people are conveniently silent on that – despite the fact that operators were required to do so after 2011.

    Power storage offsets are desperately needed across the entire system for effective peak shaving. Blaming renewables is intellectually dishonest and shifts the focus away from seemingly deliberate mismanagement of the system as a whole. Having a robust, diverse solution of multiple types AND ways to capture and store energy for future use is the most reliable way forward.

  2. ERCOT hasn’t learned a thing after the terrible freezing temperatures. We have renewable energy called natural gas which is reliable and burns clean. Windmills and solar panels are not reliable or good for the environment when you consider the materials and how they are acquired to make them. We also have to depend on China for the solar panels and windmills. This alone is a threat to national security!! During the freezing temperatures when I had no electric, I am glad I had propane and wood for my stoves and water heater.

  3. Sounds like ERCOT hasn’t done a darn thing to provide sufficient energy for this state. Why am I not surprised?

  4. Hey, I know…Let’s move more people from other states in here in the name of progress and growth, and while we’re at it let’s have half of them drive electric cars in the name of “energy savings”. If you don’t have enough electricity OR water for the people that are already here then why are you wanting MORE people? I tried to make that sound as sarcastic as I could so maybe somebody would get the hint.

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