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Texas governor signs bills aimed at better protecting ERCOT from extreme weather events

DW Keefer's picture
Journalist Independent Journalist and Analyst

DW Keefer is a Denver-based energy journalist who writes extensively for national and international publications on all forms of electric power generation, utility regulation, business models...

  • Member since 2017
  • 277 items added with 255,428 views
  • Jun 9, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law on June 8. The laws are intended to change how parts of the state’s power grid must prepare for extreme weather and how the Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas (ERCOT) is governed.

The legislation was sparked by a mid-February winter storm that lasted for days and crippled much of the state’s electric power grid. Power plants that had not been winterized were particularly hard hit in a near carbon-copy of a power outage that hit the state in February 2011.

Calls a decade ago to winterize the state’s vulnerable natural gas delivery system and power plants went largely unheeded.

As signed by Abbott, Senate Bill 3 requires upgrades for power generators and transmission lines to make them better able to withstand extreme weather. The Texas Railroad Commission and ERCOT will conduct inspections of the facilities. Failure to weatherize may result in penalties of up to $1 million.

Winter resource capability will now include onsite fuel storage, dual-fuel capability, or fuel supply arrangements to ensure winter performance for several days. Summer requirement include facilities or procedures to ensure that power plants can operate during drought conditions.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 9, 2021

The Texas Railroad Commission and ERCOT will conduct inspections of the facilities. Failure to weatherize may result in penalties of up to $1 million.

One has to wonder why something like this wasn't put into place when weatherization was deemed necessary 10 years ago for just such an event!

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