ERCOT Preps Grid for Extreme Winter Conditions


AUSTIN, TX — As preparations persist to ready the grid for the impending winter season, ERCOT announced today that a fresh cohort of weatherization inspectors has successfully completed the Certified Weatherization Inspector (CWI) program. They will promptly be deployed into the field to commence inspections of electric generation units and transmission facilities.

"Each weather season in Texas presents distinct challenges for the grid. The winter readiness endeavors undertaken by market participants, bolstered by ERCOT weatherization inspections, continue to fortify the reliability and resilience of the ERCOT grid," said ERCOT President and CEO, Pablo Vegas.

ERCOT remains committed to implementing a comprehensive suite of programs and tools ensuring grid reliability and resilience during the winter months. This includes additional ancillary services, an expanded firm fuel supply service, and the deployment of supplementary weatherization inspectors.

"The CWI program entails an in-depth training course mandating a profound comprehension of weatherization principles, techniques, and standards," stated ERCOT Vice President of System Planning and Weatherization, Kristi Hobbs. "Their field expertise will further bolster our advanced winter preparedness inspections."

Continued Winter Preparedness and Grid Enhancements:

  • Weatherization and Inspections: ERCOT embarks on the third season of winter weatherization inspections, now with augmented requirements for generation and transmission facilities compared to the previous winter. The Weatherization and Inspection program aims to conclude 450 inspections of generation resources and transmission facilities this winter.

  • Firm Fuel Supply Service (FFSS) Phase 2: An additional on-site fuel source for generators offers grid benefits by providing redundancy in fuel supply during natural gas scarcity. FFSS Phase 1 established the FFSS service, first deployed during Winter Storm Elliott and subsequently during Winter Storm Mara. Phase 2 extends qualifying resources.

  • Scheduled Maintenance Period: ERCOT collaborated with generators and transmission operators to schedule maintenance, preparing equipment for winter conditions following an intense summer.

  • Forecasting Improvements: Efforts are underway to diminish weather forecast errors through procuring additional weather forecasts and refining load forecast models tailored for extreme cold weather. Improvements in software testing related to holiday and outlier scenarios have also been made.

  • ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service (ECRS): Introduced in June 2023, ECRS leverages resources that can commence within 10 minutes to address unforeseen or rapid changes in supply or demand.

  • Fast Frequency Response Service: Added in 2022, this Ancillary Services addition harnesses faster-responding resources' capabilities to counter events swiftly.

  • Enhanced Transparent Communications: Launched in May 2023, the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS) serves as a communication tool to keep Texans informed about evolving grid conditions.

  • Critical Supply Chain and Critical Infrastructure Map: Developed in 2022, this map disseminates the locations and interconnections of all critical components of the Texas power infrastructure to multiple state agencies and energy companies, ensuring focused attention on critical assets during weather events.

  • Improved Inter-Agency Communications: Sustained and improved communications among agencies occur through both the Texas Department of Emergency Management and Texas Energy Reliability Council.

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