Texas grid operator made $16b price error during winter storm

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Power grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) made a US$16 billion (NZ$22.3b) pricing error in the week of the winter storm that led to power outages across Texas, Potomac Economics, which monitors the state's power market, said.

ERCOT kept market prices for power too high for more than a day after widespread outages ended late on Feb. 17, Potomac Economics, the independent market monitor for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which oversees ERCOT, said in a filing.

"In order to comply with the Commission Order, the pricing intervention that raised prices to VOLL (value of lost load) should have ended immediately at that time (late on Feb. 17)," Potomac Economics said.

"However, ERCOT continued to hold prices at VOLL by inflating the Real-Time On-Line Reliability Deployment Price Adder for an additional 32 hours through the morning of February 19," it said, adding the decision resulted in $16 billion in additional costs to ERCOT's markets.

The findings of Potomac Economics were reported first Thursday by Bloomberg and the Texas Tribune.

The Public Utility Commission, the Texas power regulator, on Friday unanimously vetoed a request to cut about $16 billion from state power charges during the final day of the February cold snap, saying even a partial repricing could have unintended effects.

Separately, rating agency Moody's Investors Service downgraded ERCOT by one notch to A1 from Aa3 and revised the grid operator's credit outlook to "negative" on Thursday.

On Wednesday, ERCOT's board ousted chief executive Bill Magness, as the fallout continued from a blackout that left residents without heat, power or water for days.

The mid-February storm temporarily knocked out up to half the state's generating plants, triggering outages that killed dozens and pushed power prices to 10 times the normal rate.

Many of ERCOT's directors have resigned in the last week, and the head of the Public Utility Commission resigned on Monday.

Comments

Lone Star State is best to go Democrat.

Anyone that has a smigion of aeronautical understanding knows that icing on aerofoils is a major issue.
Here is an article on some of the issues.
https://www.ecowatch.com/wind-turbines-ice-freezing-2650925355.html?rebe...
The follie of integrating unproven technologies on mass into our existing system has been demonstrated and published in our media from South Australia, California and now Texas. There are many other examples from Europe of snow and ice degrading solar and wind, electricity production.
Hopefully our electrical authorities will heed the lessons and tread carefully into the future.

Eyes, solar and wind are well proven technologies - in the hands of anyone with a smigiEn of foresight. Natural gas failed as well in Texas. It was because no one in charge had a plan to deal with global climate change. That's why heads are rolling left and right. And before you say something you'll regret, this cold snap was definitely a consequence of climate change (https://www.npr.org/2021/02/18/968921843/how-much-is-the-weather-in-texa...). Welcome to the future.

How old does a technology have to be before is proven? Wind is centuries old. Humans have been using wind for power for 2000 years. The first wind mill for producing electricity was built in 1887. Solar Panels were first used back in the 1950s.
And though wind turbine blades can ice up, the conditions in Texas were mild compared to the extremes they can operate in . Sweden has run turbines at -30C at Arctic latitudes.
The blackouts in Texas were due to a few possible causes (investigations underway, so nothing definite): Power plants shutdown for maintenance during what is normally a low power demand season (peak demand in the summer heat), plants shutdown due the extreme cold being outside their operating range and gas power stations closed due to frozen supply pipes. Not to mention power lines down and an isolated state grid.
It was an extreme event, but solar and wind performed better than expected given the conditions.

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