ERCOT issues its first 'Weather Watch' due to higher temperatures, electrical demand

The forecast is turning hotter, but not extraordinary for June in Texas.

Still, energy demand is expected to reach new records, so ERCOT issued a weather watch under new guidelines for advising the public of weather events.

This is the first time ERCOT has ever issued a so-called "weather watch." It is due to forecasted higher temperatures and higher electrical demand. 

The window of concern is over the next six days, through Wednesday, June 21.

The "weather watch" is a new communications strategy from the state-regulated nonprofit related to concerns over the resiliency of Texas’ power grid. 

It was first sparked by the deadly 2021 winter storm.

The grid could break the all-time demand record Thursday, and likely will surpass the record on Friday.

For now, consumers are not being asked to conserve electricity.

Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at UT Austin, said the watch is only an indication of higher demand on Texas’ power infrastructure than expected. 

"It's not even summer yet, and it's already really hot. And I think that's a reminder to us that we need to prepare for a hotter future," Webber said. 

Webber said consumers should not worry. 

"One of the bits of good news for us is the natural gas system is really reliable in the summer. It doesn't freeze off like it does in the winter," Webber said. 

Webber said a lot of solar farms and wind generation have come online over the past year. He said this adds additional energy generation capacity to the grid. 

In a statement, ERCOT’s CEO and president said, in part: 

"ERCOT continues to monitor conditions closely and will deploy all available tools to manage the grid and will continue our reliability-first approach to operations, always prioritizing grid reliability."

For now, consumers are not being asked to take any precautions. ERCOT said there is currently enough capacity to meet forecasted demand. 

Webber said the concern is long-term.

"We need to prepare for a hotter future and have climate change in mind as we design the grid and our energy systems," Webber said. 

ERCOT encourages everyone to sign up for grid condition notifications through the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS)

Texans can also monitor real-time and extended grid conditions, here