The 100 degree plus temperatures across Texas the second week in Aug pushed the capacity of Texas’s power grid. In an article by the Houston Chronicle, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), the group that manages the flow of power to Texas customers, reported a peak demand of 69,783 megawatts on Aug 10. Power demand remained high through the end of the week. While a record high temperatures were set on Aug 11 at Houston Intercontinental – 106 degrees F and Houston Hobby – 104 degrees F and DFW airport saw an overnight low record temperature of 83 degrees F on Wed Aug 12, the week was not widespread record setting from a temperature perspective across the state.
Another factor that impacted power production was the lack of wind across much of the state. Texas has placed a large effort to build their wind generation capacity. But it was of little help during the peak hours on Aug 10. With no significant weather system impacting region for much of the week, winds were relatively light.
While the power production from Wind Turbines depends upon the unit, according to the Wind Power Program website, wind speeds of 30 mph and higher or 14 meters/sec are desired. When winds speeds are less than 30 mph, the energy production curve drops. So to fill in the gap of wind energy production, gas or coal plant power producers must ramp up production.
While ERCOT strives to forecast user demand based on weather conditions as well as monitor the capacity for power generation, with the continued increase in population and energy demand this is an ongoing challenge. In addition, as the energy source portfolio continues to expand into that are highly depending on weather conditions (such as wind, solar and hydro), managing the power grid and ensuring enough power is available to meet the demand involves highly technical, real time monitors, models and higher resolution and more accurate weather forecasts.
The team at WxIntegrations is evaluating strategies to improve the timeliness, resolution and accuracy of weather information to support the Power Industry. While individually, we can all make a difference by being efficient with our energy use, WxIntegrations is looking for methods to enable to power industry to more effectively leverage the weather into their planning and daily operations.