ERCOT warns of tight power grid conditions this summer: 'A little nerve-racking'

Last summer was the second hottest on the books in Texas, and the organization that manages the grid warns this summer could be just as bad.

But at Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, the CEO of ERCOT said the grid is prepared.

Last September was the hottest September ever recorded in the Lone Star State.

The past four summers have marked a consistent increase in power demand, and that is likely to continue this summer, which officially starts Thursday. 


ERCOT warns of potential rolling blackouts in late summer

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is warning Texans about possible rolling blackouts this summer.

The expectation is the power grid will make it through this summer’s heat. However, there are still some concerns.

"August is expected to see a higher risk for tight conditions in those evening hours, specifically from 8 to 10 p.m. window relative to June and July's risk," said ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas.

As we get into late August, days start getting shorter, which means less solar-generated power at hours when more people are home turning down thermostats and turning up demand.

That's when companies who've entered into an agreement with ERCOT to conserve energy when demand is super high dial back their consumption.

BIG SPRING, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 19: In an aerial view, wind turbines are seen on September 19, 2023 in Big Spring, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

"Somedays, that’s a little nerve-racking to know are you gonna get that demand response on a particular day. Because if you get it, we've got enough. Other days, maybe we don't," said ERCOT VP of Systems Operations Dan Woodfin. "So I think that’s kind of the thing that’s most concerning or worrisome at this point."

Major transmission lines lost during spring storms are mostly back up and running.

But whether there is enough power all summer depends on how many generators are out or offline and how much wind is blowing as the sun starts setting and solar power weakens.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticizes crypto-miners, AI data centers for potential strain on Texas power grid

"We need to take a close look at those two industries. They produce very few jobs compared to the incredible demands they place on our grid… We want data centers, but it can’t be the wild, wild west of data centers and crypto miners crashing our grid and turning the lights off."

The power flow can also be cut off by hurricanes packing strong winds or bringing flooding rains like what's forecasted for South Texas in the coming days. This year is expected to be very active.

"Our response in the event of a hurricane is really to just maintain the reliability of the system as a whole to the degree we can," Woodfin said.

But with new solar wind and natural gas resources added since last October, Vegas says the power grid is prepared this summer.

Renewables like wind and solar produce a bigger share of power in Texas. On Monday, between 40% and 50% of the grid’s power was generated by wind and solar.