AUSTIN (Nexstar) — After some heat relief for parts of the state, Monday marked normal electric grid conditions and the end of a four-day streak after state operators asked Texans to conserve energy back-to-back days.
While high temperatures posed a risk to the grid with near-record demand over the weekend, it held up without reaching an emergency status or rolling blackouts, which is the worst case scenario.
Pablo Vegas, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT, told Dallas NBC affiliate KXAS last Thursday that the conservation notice resulted in an “incredible response” from Texans.
“It actually really is making a difference,” he said. “Every little bit does help when we’re dealing with very tight margins.”
Vegas said with the consecutive high temperatures, the demand on the electric grid has been higher than normal. Additionally, lower forecasts for wind and solar last week also contributed to ERCOT’s decision to ask Texans to voluntarily conserve four days in a row.
Nexstar learned Monday that ERCOT additionally imported 800 megawatts of generation from outside of the state’s grid. Although small, energy experts say this could become troublesome if it becomes habitual for ERCOT to purchase energy outside of Texas when demand is almost as high as supply.
Ed Hirs, an energy fellow with the University of Houston, said he does not see that as a sustainable solution to increasing supply in the future — considering the price.
“It’s not like these other states are friends of Texas, and given an opportunity to sell electricity to us at a much higher price. They’ll take advantage of that,” he said. “We’re the energy capital of the world that we can’t make enough electricity to service, our own population.”
Nexstar reached out to ERCOT for comment about the 800 megawatts imported and how much it might have cost, but a spokesperson said that the council “does not comment on specific operations.”