News

02/11/21 – ERCOT looks to be starting off with a rough Thursday. The next few days could spur a repeat of 2011 due to the extreme cold hitting the TEXAS ISO.

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It is amazing to see how volatile power prices are in ERCOT. Other RTO/ISO’s have been this way too due to the very cold conditions facing North America currently.

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02/12/2021 -ERCOT is really showing large demand with wind and PV low due to the weather conditions. LMP prices are popping due to extreme cold (Houston could be the coldest since 1989) coupled with high winter time heating/electrical demand.

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02/13/2021– ERCOT today displayed what happens when truly bitter winter weather impacts the TEXAS ISO. Almost all day well above $1,000.00 per mwh, a price cap strike, and a hope that anyone using Griddy has switched providers. Seriously folks, do not float the LMP, you will lose any savings in the few “rare” times that the grid is really pushed. This is why dispatchable resources (gas turbines folks) are so important to grid stability vs. the green push everyone is over investing in.

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02/14/2021– Another post about ERCOT struggling with the extreme cold. Lets all hope that rotating outages are not implemented due to plants and gas storage fields freezing up due to lack of insulation and glycol warmers. The overall spare capacity is alarming as well as the real concern over missed dispatches over the next two days. Due to tight reserve margins, any failed unit dispatch could push the grid into a CAISO like situation from back in Sept. 2020.

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02/15/2021– This is very bad for ERCOT, lots of frozen homes and people suffering from rotating outages. Wind fleet MIA, obviously solar doesn’t work at night. We need more gas turbines Texas.

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MISO getting in on the action. 

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SPP too is getting battered, all of the middle North American is getting hammered.

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To all Texans without power, I hope you and your family stays safe. The grid should be in rough shape tonight due to huge demand, zero wind, tripping thermal units, and just overall difficult control conditions – ERCOT is trying and any coordinator would struggle. This is when grid operation becomes nearly impossible: massive gas demand prioritized for residential heating (less for generation), other gas units simply failing due to designs for warm weather peaking (not enough winterization), fewer thermal coal units due to retirements, increased demand since the 2011 cold event due to population growth, and the inability for ERCOT massive wind nameplate to be a huge aide (we need it tonight).

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02/17/2021– First: MISO, SPP, and the western system are all suffering due to unprecedented demand and have also had rotating outages, so folks this isn’t just a Texas problem. Second, thermal, wind and PV all failed during this, there is no redemption. Most of the thermal nameplate that failed to dispatch is NOT RATED to run in the winter, its summertime peaking only… renewables, which are the lion share of new ERCOT capacity have done nothing and are vastly under performing (do not mention grid scale batteries, they don’t exist meaningfully). Fourth, a massive amount of thermal coal was “bid into” retirement due to, in my opinion, too cheap of bidding into the dispatch stack for intermittent non-schedulable resources. When you combine these factors along with growing load, an event like this was inevitable. I always thought it would be a summer failure, and have been warning about this for years. Note: I don’t have a renewable axe to grid, I just care deeply about grid reliability.

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Thank god ERCOT did rotating outages, otherwise an islanding event and full system trip could have tested our dark start capability. I’m not very confident in our dark start or system recovery due to how bad the 2003 Northeast blackout was.

SPP is getting hammered today.

MISO showing some system line/bus constraints.

02/18/2021– Things are slowly improving in ERCOT today with more units online and greater spare capacity. What is worrisome now is that the weather is turning (hasn’t warmed up too much) very cold again tonight and tomorrow. EEA3 is still in place and homes that have been able to thaw today might be plunged back into darkness via rotating outages again. Things to watch out for are continued large clock errors in ERCOT which indicated control difficulties syncing the system for grid tie. Again the rotating outages are important to prevent an islanding event.

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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company and should not be used to make investment decisions. Some images in this blog are not that of our own.