Texas will return to the state this winter if extreme weather strikes the state, according to a new report released Thursday by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the entity that enforces federal electrical reliability rules. You may experience a serious power outage.
According to the NERC’s 2021-2022 Winter Reliability Assessment Report, the risk of widespread outages in Texas is statistically very low this winter. However, if the state is hit by another historic storm similar to the one that occurred in February 2021, NERC modeling shows that the power reserve margin could be as much as 37% below the required amount. is showing. In a conference call with journalists on Thursday, NERC officials said certain extreme scenarios could cause widespread outages.
“It’s very disappointing to know what happens in the extreme case of ERCOT, and I think we need to see how we can fix it,” said John Moura, Director of Reliability Assessment at NERC. I am saying.
However, NERC officials say that if Texas utilities pay attention to NERC’s warnings to better protect their power plant equipment from the cold, the number of outages during a storm can be significantly reduced. I emphasized.
Many companies are already doing that.
Last month, Vistra Corporation invited reporters to a Midlothian power plant to show that the company is spending millions of dollars across the fleet, a heat tracing system designed to prevent the freezing of critical components of the plant. Equipment such as was added.
Under new regulations enforced by the Texas Public Utility Commission, power plants are also required to prevent equipment that was frozen in February from freezing again.
However, during a Thursday winter preparation presentation, NERC officials said some operators were seeing signs that they might not be ready yet.
“I was a little disappointed that many generators did not complete their weathering plans,” said Mark Olson, NERC manager for reliability assessments.
ERCOT, which operates a power grid in Texas, says it plans to inspect 300 power plants in the 21st day of December.
From new records revealing the causes of a major power outage in February to new interviews revealing potential solutions. Investigated by NBC5 Underlying state power problems in an ongoing streaming series “Powerless” You can get it here.
In a recent interview Investigated by NBC5Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of ERCOT, said he believes the inspection team is ready to perform much better than last winter by the time they visit these plants. rice field.
“Therefore, we can look directly at the units that had problems during the storm and make sure that they not only meet the public utility commission rules, but also deal with all the units that had the last problem. Storm, “Jones said.
On Wednesday, NBC 5 Investigates reported that Jones was still concerned about the state’s natural system preparation. A federal investigation into the February disaster found that a shortage of natural gas was the second leading cause of power plant blackouts.
The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates natural gas, is considering a proposal to allow gas companies to check the checkboxes on the one-page form and pay a $ 150 fee to opt out of future cold weather regulations. increase. Mr Jones said he hopes the Railroad Commission will amend the proposal and not give the gas company something “easy.”
Railroad Commission officials said NBC5 investigates The plan is not intended to provide a simple solution, and government agencies continue to focus on ensuring that gas systems can supply sufficient fuel to power plants in the event of a crisis. .. Authorities also said they have sent inspectors to hundreds of gas facilities to ensure they are ready for the coming winter.
NERC regulators stressed concerns about the gas system on Thursday, noting that fuel restrictions could lead to further outages in extreme weather, even if the power plant is better prepared for this winter. bottom.
Other reports from the NBC5 survey