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Energy & Environment
Central Texas experienced historic winter weather the week of Feb. 14, with a stretch of days below freezing. Sleet followed snow followed freezing rain, leading to a breakdown of the electric grid and widespread power outages. Water reservoirs were depleted and frozen pipes burst, leaving some without service for days.

ERCOT Releases Plan To Strengthen Texas’ Electric Grid

The control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
The control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texans.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, has released what it is calling a “Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability.”

The outline comes amid angst over whether Gov. Greg Abbott and lawmakers did enough to improve the statewide electric grid during the regular legislative session.

The 60-point plan includes more conservation alerts, like the one issued in June as offline electric plants almost caused statewide blackouts. It also seeks to increase transmission capacity from South and West Texas while keeping the rest of the grid stable. There was similar legislation proposed in the last session, but it died in the House.

The ERCOT plan also will require generators and transmission line owners to provide a signed document twice a year with details of weatherization for summer and winter, in an effort to prevent another massive breakdown like the one during February’s storm.

ERCOT also says it has already completed 20 of the points, and says many of the next steps will have to be made by the Public Utility Commission.

Abbott has previously said the state had done all it could, and that regulators now have the tools to improve electric grid reliability.

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