Despite being home to some of the best energy resources on the planet, the Texas electrical grid once again issued a grid alert, also referred to as a “conservation appeal,” on Wednesday, Aug. 30. This was was the second day in a row for the Lone Star State, and the eighth over the last two weeks, according to the Houston Chronicle. According to the grid operator’s X account, similar grid alerts occurred on Aug. 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29 and 30.

the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued the alert at 11:08 a.m. via a tweet on X (Twitter). That tweet said, “TXANS Update—August 30, 2023: ERCOT has issued a Conservation Appeal for today, Aug. 30, from 6 – 9 p.m. CT. Similar to yesterday, operating reserves are expected to be low in the afternoon and evening due to a high level of unexpected thermal generation outages and forecasted low wind generation. We request Texas businesses and residents conserve electricity use, if safe to do so. For more information, energy-saving tips, and to sign up for #TXANS emails, visit: bit.ly/3EjUgeg. You can monitor grid conditions on ercot.com and the app.”

The appeal ended at 9.p.m.

The Chronicle reported, “As solar resources make up a greater share of the Texas power grid, ERCOT relies on natural gas and coal plants as well as\u00a0a burgeoning supply of batteries to make up the difference during this crucial evening period. On Wednesday, however, natural gas and coal plants were seeing more than 9,000 megawatts of unexpected outages as of noon, down from a peak of more than 11,300 megawatts of outages earlier in the day. This is about double the typical amount of natural gas and coal plant outages that ERCOT expected going into the summer. The outages could be a reflection of the strain felt by older plants after months of running at or\u00a0near full capacity to keep up record-shattering electricity demand, said Joshua Rhodes, a research scientist with the UT Austin Energy Institute.”

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Meanwhile, in Canada

Alberta, which had been facility similar issues in recent days, finally got a break, going without a grid alert on Aug. 30.

Saskatchewan, however, had next to no wind a few days ago. SaskPower’s Where Your Power Comes From webpage noted the 617 megawatts of grid-scale wind generation capacity averaged just 37 megawatts for the day. SaskPower told Pipeline Online via email, “We stayed above 20 MW wind for the day on Monday other than from 1 to 3 a.m. when it was close to 0 MW. We did export full tie to both Alberta (90 MW) and SPP (150 MW) for much of the day yesterday (Tuesday).”

On that day, natural gas accounted for 44 per cent of total power generation, while coal was 41 per cent, as a 24-hour average.

The federal government’s draft Clean Electricity Regulations would see Saskatchewan have to either put extremely efficient carbon capture on all of that coal and natural gas-fired power generation, or shut it down, by 2035. That would be 85 per cent of the current grid, not counting expected massive expansions in electrical demands in coming years.

Power generation in Saskatchewan on Monday, Aug. 28, in megawatts. These are 24 hour averages. SaskPower

 

Those exports helped out both the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) and Southwest Power Pool (SPP), both of which were experiencing low wind conditions and thus low wind power generation. SaskPower was able to do this as the Poplar River Power Station recently went back online, after 2.5 months down due to localized flooding causing significant damage.

 

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Despite being home to some of the best energy resources on the planet, the Texas electrical grid once again issued a grid alert, also referred to as a “conservation appeal,” on Wednesday, Aug. 30. This was was the second day in a row for the Lone Star State, and the eighth over the last two weeks, according to the Houston Chronicle. According to the grid operator’s X account, similar grid alerts occurred on Aug. 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29 and 30.