ERCOT Releases Preliminary Report on Texas Power Outages
It's been almost two months since Winter Storm Uri left millions of Texans without electricity during sub-zero conditions and at least 125 people dead, and we've all been waiting for answers.
From the looks of a preliminary report issued by ERCOT Tuesday, it looks like we'll be waiting a little longer.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas "report" isn't very long - only 9 pages of a PDF slideshow with two introductory pages. It was submitted Tuesday by ERCOT's Grid Planning and Operations Vice President Woody Rickerson and was addressed to Chairman Arthur C. D’Andrea, who resigned from the ERCOT board back in mid-March.
The report gives a quick overview of what are believed to be the causes of generator outages and derates."For the purposes of this document, an “outage” is the complete unavailability of a generator’s capacity, and a “derate” is the partial unavailability of that capacity," the report reads.
Not surprisingly, the top cause category is Weather Related, meaning frozen equipment, equipment flooded by melting ice and snow, ice accumulation on wind turbines, temperatures too low for turbines to work properly, and ice and snow covering solar panels were the biggest contributing factors by a longshot.
A graph on page 4 of the report shows the Weather Related category in blue, and it's a mountain compared to the other categories.
Equipment issues like control system failures, excessive turbine vibrations, and other problems not directly attributable to the freezing conditions came in 2nd.
The 3rd leading cause of outages and derates were Fuel Limitations, such as lack of fuel, contaminated fuel, fuel supply instability, low gas pressure, and less efficient alternative fuel supplies.
So, while the report does contain some interesting information, and more elaborate reports are in the works, I don't feel like this told us anything we didn't already know. The question now is, what will be done to prevent such catastrophic failure of our energy grid in the future?