US Energy Department Declares Grid Emergency in Texas Amid Polar Vortex

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The US Department of Energy declared a Texas grid emergency on Friday as temperatures dipped below zero.

A Polar vortex made its way across the US this week.

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Texas grid operator ERCOT released a statement on the emergency declaration.

“While the vast majority of generating units in the ERCOT region continue to operate without any problem, a small number of units have experienced operating difficulties due to cold weather or gas curtailments,” the Energy Department said in its order.

Bloomberg reported:

The US Energy Department declared a power emergency in Texas, citing a shortage of electricity as an Arctic winter blast causes power plants to fail.

The order allows the state’s grid operator to exceed certain air pollution limits to boost generation amid record power demand in the state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, whose service area includes 90% of electric customers in Texas, requested the emergency order Friday, warning it may need to resort to blackouts.

The order said 11,000 megawatts of coal and gas-fired power, 4,000 megawatts of wind and 1,700 megawatts of solar power were out or derated to weather conditions.

It will require the grid operators to provide detailed reporting to the Energy Department and completion of a post-incident special environmental analysis, a department spokeswoman added in an email.

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