For many Texas residents, the unusually frigid winter weather just got colder. The Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT), which manages the Texas power grid and provides power to over 26 million Texans, has announced they are initiating rolling outages.
Extreme weather conditions have forced generators at some plants to shut down, leading to power outages for many homes. According to a Facebook post by State Representative Steve Toth (R-Conroe), over 2 million homes were without power as of 11:30 on February 15.
“These outages are different from the hurricane outage,” explained Toth. “The hurricane outage saw the loss of transmission lines from storm debris. The current outage is from plants that failed from icing conditions that blocked cooling capacity.”
Toth also pointed out that icy weather is a weakness of relying on wind energy, “In addition to a small number of gas powered plants being down, 50% of wind turbines in Texas are inoperable accounting for 13% of Texas total electricity production. High winds along with cold and icing conditions reveals the Achilles’ heel of wind energy.”
Officials are urging residents to conserve power as much as possible so as not to overload the grid with demand.
“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.