ERCOT

Weather
7:12 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Winter Storm Warning for Monday Evening, Tuesday Morning

While the National Weather Service is forecasting sleet and freezing rain, accumulation is not expected.
National Weather Service

The Austin area could see freezing rain and sleet tonight and tomorrow. There’s a Winter Storm Warning in effect from 8 p.m. on Monday until noon on Tuesday.

Many Texans may be cranking up their thermostats to fight the cold. But the operator of the state’s electric grid hopes people won’t turn the heat up higher than 68 degrees.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas – or ERCOT – is asking Texans to conserve so that there’s enough energy to meet the increased demand.

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Energy & Environment
10:21 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Memo Cites Legal Hurdles for City to Get Out of Coal Plant

A memo from the City of Austin Law Department cites bond debt, ERCOT regulations and an LCRA agreement as obstacles in abandoning the project that provides 20 percent of Austin's energy.
Photo by KUT News

This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily).

The City of Austin faces formidable legal hurdles and, potentially, significant costs if the City Council decides to sell or shut down the city’s share of the coal-fired Fayette Power Project, according to a new city Law Department memo.

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Energy & Environment
8:57 am
Mon January 6, 2014

ERCOT: Rolling Blackout Threat Averted In Cold Snap

ERCOT says the threat of rolling blackouts were averted on Jan 6, 2014.
Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

As chilly weather grips much of Texas, the state's electricial grid operator is asking consumers to reduce their energy use, though it says a brief threat of rolling blackouts has been averted. 

In an alert sent at 8 a.m., the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the grid covering 85 percent of the state, issued an emergency alert, meaning the grid's power reserves had dropped below a comfortable threshold. 

But the situation, ERCOT said, was improving.

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Energy & Environment
9:58 am
Wed September 4, 2013

ERCOT Says Plenty Of Electricity Available Through Winter

Flickr user jetsandzeppelins cc

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 9:04 am

Texas is expected to have sufficient levels of stored power to serve peak demands this fall and winter. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas released its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy on Tuesday.

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Texas
4:41 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Rolling Blackouts Unlikely This Summer, ERCOT Says

It would take an unusually hot summer to trigger blackouts.
Nasha Lee, KUT News

Rolling blackouts are unlikely this summer, according to the state’s grid regulator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which released its outlook (PDF) for the adequacy of the power grid for the summer months.

“If we do have a much hotter than normal summer, one like 2011, or if we have much higher than normal generator outages, we could be into our emergency procedures this summer,” said Kent Saathoff, executive advisor at ERCOT.

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ENERGY
6:52 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Texas Nuclear Reactor Resumes Operation

South Texas Project, a nuclear power plant of which Austin Energy is a partial owner
STP Nuclear Operating Company http://www.stpnoc.com/photo.php?pageID=30

Austin Energy is getting some of its power again from the South Texas Project. STP is a nuclear power source in the Bay City area where one of four reactors was offline for the past few months because of a fire outside the unit.

On Tuesday it started operating again.

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The Lead
10:09 am
Wed September 26, 2012

The Lead: Officer-Involved Shooting, ERCOT's Summer Evaluation, F1 Track Race Ready

The State of Texas executed Cleve Foster, 48, last night. He was put to death for the sexual assault and shooting death of Nyaneur "Mary" Pal in Fort Worth in 2002.

Here’s what KUT News has been working on this morning:

Here’s a roundup other Austin and Texas stories from around the web:

  • Austin's First 'Kids Only' Yoga Studio (KEYE)

KEYE reports that The Little Yoga House is Austin's first "kids only" yoga studio. Creators say it teaches kids not only about the importance of a healthy lifestyle but also about dealing with stress in a healthy way.

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Texas
9:04 am
Wed September 26, 2012

ERCOT Board Examines Summer Power Usage, Makes Predictions for Fall

ERCOT predicts no demand problems for fall, winter.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says that though the Texas electric grid saw new monthly peaks in June and July, the overall electric demand fell below last summer’s record-setting numbers. 

At the Board of Directors September meeting yesterday, directors were briefed on the summer’s power grid demand and peaks over the summer and made projections for fall and winter. 

This summer, ERCOT didn’t have to issue any energy emergence alerts (EEA)—which can result in rotating outages in order to prevent a power grid overload and statewide blackout. Last summer, ERCOT issued seven EEAs. Though this summer’s weather was hotter than the state’s 15-year average, it didn’t reach the sweltering levels achieved in 2011, so air conditioner use was somewhat lower.

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Texas
1:16 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

City, State Energy Conservation Varies by Department

City of Austin employees are notified when demand for energy is high and are encouraged to take steps to reduce use.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Triple-digit heat is putting pressure on the state’s electrical system. Texas set a record yesterday for peak demand during the month of June. Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas are asking everyone to reduce electricity use from 3 to 7 p.m. That means turning up your thermostat by a couple of degrees and avoiding use of large appliances during those hours.

The City of Austin and the State of Texas are some of the largest energy users in the city.

Carlos Cordova is with Austin Energy. He says the city relies on Austin’s Energy’s Load Cooperative program for alerts about peak usage and to track incentives for reducing use.

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AM Update 6/26/12
8:41 am
Tue June 26, 2012

AM Update: Record Electric Demand, Child Car Safety, New Tar Sands Pipeline

The ERCOT grid control center. ERCOT saw record demand for June.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Electricity Demand Hit New June Record Yesterday

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, reported hitting a new June record for peak electric demand Monday. Electricity use peaked from 4-5 p.m., when 65,047 megawatts were needed.

A previous record occurred last June, when 63,102 megawatts were used. ERCOT’s all-time peak demand, at 68,379 megawatts, occurred last August.

Triple digit temperatures are forecast for the remainder of the week in Austin. 

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Education
12:24 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

AISD Offices Operating on Summer Schedule

AISD Headquarters and other offices will be operating on a four-day week starting today.
KUT News

A temporary schedule change for Austin ISD schools and offices goes into effect today. AISD says the change is an effort to cut energy usage this summer.

Starting today and running through July 27, AISD offices will be closed on Fridays. Employees will work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. Office hours will be 7 a.m to 6 p.m.

Schools and offices will be completely closed the week of July 2.

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10:09 am
Mon June 25, 2012

ERCOT Girds For High Use, Urges Electric Conservation

Lead in text: 
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates Texas' power grid, has said it hopes to avert blackouts this summer. That statement may soon be tested, however, as ERCOT is urging users to conserve electricity from 3-7 p.m. today, due to "continued extreme heat creating tight capacity." Austin has predicted highs in the triple digits all this week.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state's bulk transmission grid, is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. today.
Environment
3:41 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

ERCOT Predicts No Power Outages This Summer

The scene in the ERCOT control room.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Since its creation in 1970, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has experienced blackouts (or in its vocabulary, rolling outages,) only three times. With the majority of that burden falling on residential properties, the community has cause for interest – but not concern – according to ERCOT’s leaders.

“We don’t expect this summer to have to resort to rotating outages,” said ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. But, he says, “if we have another summer like 2011, the most extreme summer we’ve experienced, then we’re likely to have at least one day in which we start running short on reserves.”

Reserves are generators dedicated to picking up the slack when other generators fail, or when there is a greater electrical demand. ERCOT has enough reserves to generate over 3,000 megawatts (MW). To put that in perspective, one megawatt of electricity can power about 200 Texas homes during the hottest day of the year. Overall, ERCOT has a 74,000 MW capacity.

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Texas
8:08 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Texas Electric Grid Faces Uncertainty in 2012

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas's new state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop, Texas.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

Will the lights stay on in 2012? Texas electricity experts cannot say for certain.

The state’s electric grid operators are coming off of a tumultuous year, one they are not eager to repeat. In February, a deep freeze knocked numerous power plants out of commission as equipment broke, causing rolling blackouts across the state. Then, the hottest summer on record spurred repeated conservation warnings, as grid managers worked — successfully — to avoid more blackouts.

What happens next year will largely depend on the weather. While a piping-hot summer could spur blackouts, as electricity use spikes because of air-conditioning loads, winter shortfalls are looking less likely.

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News Brief
5:23 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/2/11: Eastside Principal Resigning, UTMB to Continue Prison Health Care

The Austin Independent School District has confirmed the principal at Eastside Memorial High School is resigning.
KUT News

Eastside Memorial Principal Resigning

Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus Principal Joseph Coburn is resigning effective January first. The Austin Independent School District told KUT he announced his resignation during a staff meeting yesterday. An AISD spokeswoman says Coburn is leaving to pursue a doctoral degree. The Eastside school has struggled to meet state academic standards for years.

UTMB Likely to Continue Prison Health Care in 2012

University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have reached a tentative agreement on prisoner health care. The state would continue to fund UTMB to provide health care to about 120,000 Texas inmates through next August. UTMB was concerned about rising health care costs and more losses in running prisoner health care.

As KUT's Ben Philpott reported during Morning Edition, the Texas Legislature will begin its periodical review of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice starting in January. Scott Medlock, with The Texas Civil Rights Project, spoke to KUT about the group's concerns over health care in the state's prison system.

The TCRP sent a letter to the Sunset Advisory Commission pointing out what it considers inadequate health care for prisoners. Arguing for prisoner rights doesn’t always get results, Medlock said, so he’s also proposing measures to improve prisoner conditions while cutting costs for the state. For example, Medlock said the state should review policies that keep geriatric inmates behind bars as they will require a disproportionate amount of the state prison system’s healthcare dollars.

You can read Philpott's entire story here.

ERCOT Warns of Tight Power Supplies

The state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is warning there's a threat for rotating power outages next summer- especially if we have more record-setting temperatures. ERCOT says power reserves are down because some power plant units are scheduled to go offline and some planned units have been delayed.

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