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ERCOT cancels program to increase power reserves before winter

AUSTIN (KXAN) – ERCOT has canceled a program to get additional power from energy companies ahead of winter, due to limited responses from those companies.

ERCOT announced the program in October aimed at increasing operating reserves and maintaining grid reliability during the upcoming peak season. Still, without additional resources, ERCOT said it does not expect any problems for the upcoming winter of 2023-2024.

“The request for additional capacity was an added layer of precaution to mitigate higher risks during extreme weather this winter,” said Pablo Vegas, ERCOT President and CEO. “ERCOT does not anticipate emergency conditions this winter and expects to have adequate resources to meet demand.”

ERCOT said it has made numerous improvements to the grid since the deadly 2021 winter storm that left hundreds of thousands of Texans without power for several days. Some of these improvements include weatherization inspections of power generation units and transmission facilities, additional ancillary services and guaranteed fuel supply service, according to ERCOT.

The president of ERCOT Vegas told the Dallas Morning News it was “disappointing” not to have received a better response from industries or businesses willing to participate in the program.

“It was disappointing that there wasn’t more available as part of the supply,” Vegas told the Dallas Morning News. “We’re really going to take advantage of the learning to focus on what we can do to improve in the future.”

ERCOT said that, despite the end of the program, it continues to believe there is potential to expand the grid’s demand response through industrial, commercial and residential entities and said it would work with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to explore incentives and product design.

“Reducing peak demand at critical times can be an effective tool in an overall portfolio of reliability solutions,” he said.

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