The operator of Texas’s power grid on Sunday called on state residents for the second time this year to conserve energy, warning of potential rolling blackouts amid predictions for record-high temperatures on Monday.

The state faces a “potential reserve capacity shortage with no market solution available,” the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said on its website, adding an energy emergency alert that advised of the potential for rolling blackouts.

ERCOT, which oversees power to more than 26 million customers, had assured residents earlier this year that it had enough reserves to meet demand after millions of people suffered without power through a deep freeze in early 2021 for several days.

Temperatures across the state hit records on Sunday, with 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius) recorded at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, surpassing the record of 101 F set in 1909, according to the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS).

High or dangerous heat levels are forecast for much of the state on Monday, with temperatures exceeding 100 F.

ERCOT asked residents to conserve electricity between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., saying demand could reach 79,934 megawatts (MW) on Monday and 80,104 MW on Tuesday, not far from Monday’s expected 80,200 MW of available reserves.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner advised police and fire chiefs in the nation’s fourth most populated city “to prepare in case the state’s power grid fails during extreme heat.”

The state’s grid operator has called for more power from suppliers and asked large industrial consumers to reduce their energy use.

That power use would top the current preliminary all-time high of 78,204 MW on July 8. read more

One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.

Texas last called for energy conservation in May, during an earlier heat wave that drove up prices to more than $4,000 a megawatt hour after six generators tripped offline. read more

The state’s day-ahead market has several hours on Monday afternoon listed at more than $1,000 a megawatt hour (MWh) and one at over $2,000, which is more than twice the peak price on Sunday.

Despite the sky-high day-ahead prices over the weekend, next-day power at the ERCOT North Hub slid to $157 per MWh for Monday from a two-week high of $193 for Friday. The ERCOT North Hub includes Dallas.

That compares with an average of $69 so far this year.

Source: Reuters

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