Texas power system was minutes from total blackout during winter storm
image credit: Christopher Neely
- Feb 26, 2021 10:46 pm GMTFeb 26, 2021 7:21 pm GMT
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At about 1:51 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, as the historic winter storm knocked out power plants across Texas and stymied the ability to produce and provide power, the state’s electricity system frequency fell below 59.4Hz—a threshold signaling a dire emergency.
The state’s electricity system can only spend 9 minutes below 59.4Hz before a statewide blackout is imminent—something which can take weeks or longer to fix, according to Bill Magness, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the state’s power system operator.
Magness said ERCOT only minutes earlier had shed 2,000MW of load from the state’s power system, hoping to alleviate the increased stress on the system—from everyone in Texas cranking their heat—and buy time for more electricity to become available.