Despite the Texas power grid facing several instances of low power and emergency conditions warnings this summer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ CEO said he believed the grid “held up really well.”
In an interview with ABC 13, CEO Pablo Vegas gave the power grid an “A” rating.
“I think this was one of the most challenging summers that Texans and the grid has had to deal with for many years,” said Vegas. “I think the grid held up really well, considering what a unique and difficult summer we had. There were definitely a lot of challenges throughout. We saw several days when things got quite tight, and we had to ask and lean on Texans for their help to conserve energy. But, overall, we got through those difficult days together, and I think the grid held up really well.”
However, some Texans have criticized ERCOT’s management of the power grid, which broke several all-time demand records and appeared to struggle throughout the summer.
Earlier this month, ERCOT warned citizens that the power grid had moved into “Emergency Operations” and encouraged them to conserve electricity in triple-digit temperatures.
ERCOT blamed the emergency situation on “continued high temperatures, high demand, low wind, and declining solar power generation.”
Shortly after the grid exited Emergency Operations, bitcoin mining company Riot Platforms said it earned $31.7 million in energy credits from ERCOT in one month in return for using less electricity during August’s heatwave.
When asked about the power grid’s future, Vegas said the organization is working with policymakers to help the grid “grow in a balanced way.”
Vegas also said he supports increasing the power grid’s reliance on unreliable energy sources like wind and solar. He also mentioned weighing the option of building nuclear energy facilities in Texas.
However, Bill Peacock, Policy Director for the Energy Alliance, blamed the grid’s energy strain on unreliable energy sources.
“The Texas grid survived another hot Texas summer, but warning signs of the dangers of renewables are everywhere,” said Peacock. “The biggest of those is that ERCOT declared an emergency as demand was falling because renewable generation was falling even faster.”
Vegas said he expects the grid to maintain its energy supply this fall, and rejected the idea of Texas joining the national power grid.
“Texas gets a lot of benefit for having an independent electric grid from the rest of the United States,” said Vegas. “We are able to make decisions on how to operate this grid very quickly.
He concluded, saying, “We don’t have to look up to the federal government and get their approval when we want to make changes… one of the key benefits we get is we can make decisions on operating our grid in order to meet Texas’ needs very quickly, and that’s something that could potentially be lost if we were under the jurisdiction of the federal government.”