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Texas set three records for power demand and supply during winter storm

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(The Center Square) – The Texas grid and energy companies set three all-time records for demand and supply to meet energy needs during subfreezing temperatures that began early Monday, expecting to last through Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

“Texas set 3 all-time records for power demand & supply this winter storm,” Abbott said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The ERCOT power grid performed flawlessly, never failing. No Texan lost power b/c of the grid. This is b/c of reforms that added more power generation, winterized the grid & gave more tools to ERCOT.”

The Texas grid not only handled increased demand during winter conditions this week but also during last year’s polar vortex.

ERCOT reported normal operations Tuesday, noting that it had sufficient reserves to serve peak demand. Peak demand is expected at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. ERCOT says available capacity is expected to be 80,930 MW to serve a demand forecast of 73,407 MW. ERCOT is forecasting a peak demand of 81,387 MW Wednesday morning.

According to the National Weather Service, although precipitation had ended Tuesday with some areas receiving snow and ice, a localized hazardous travel potential continues through Wednesday morning mainly across East Texas. Temperatures statewide were between 20 and 30 degrees below normal; sub-freezing temperatures are expected to continue into Wednesday morning in the northern half of the state, it said.

Temperatures are expected to increase to above freezing on Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. Some regions of Texas will still have cold weather on Friday and into the weekend with no wintery precipitation expected, according to the NWS.

Texas breaking energy records to meet demand comes after the legislature implemented reforms to address deficiencies that occurred during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. Ice and wind conditions from a 100-year storm caused statewide power outages that lasted weeks in some areas; millions of Texans were without electricity, heat and water. Some died.

As was the case last year, Texas’ natural gas production, processing, transmission, and storage sectors met demand, the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) said in a weather update on Tuesday. So far, “there has been minimal impact to the overall natural gas production and distribution system. Transmission and distribution systems are experiencing stable pressures and receiving needed products.”

Despite cold temperature, “overall conditions have been stable” in the field. “Production and operations are all within the anticipated ranges. A few isolated impacts to operators across the natural gas supply chain such as power outages, third-party take away issues, and some road issues in East Texas have occurred,” TXOGA noted. The conditions were minor and resolved.

“Transportation pressure is reported as stable, and storage and supply are readily available to meet requirements. Conditions are expected to continue to improve in the field and there has been no systemic loss of power to operations,” TXOGA said.

It also explained how operators had implemented winterization practices in the field:

“Oil and natural gas operators begin preparing for cold weather months in advance and have extensive resources in place to monitor and prepare for inclement weather on an ongoing basis and utilize best practices and operational plans in order to maximize product flow,” the association said. “Texas is more fortunate than most states due to our vast natural gas storage infrastructure funded by the private sector. During significant weather events and expected production fluctuations, daily production combined with natural gas storage provides ample access to product for power generation and local distribution companies that have contracted for these services.”

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