Wait, Is Texas Power Grid Still Not Ready for Winter?
It seems like yesterday, but it was over nine months ago that we all experienced the Texas freeze. The temperatures dropped and the power stopped working for so many of us. And now with winter upon us again, will the Texas power grid be able to handle cold weather better this time?
A chief executive officer from a power company in the town of Midlothian, Texas just south of DFW says we could be in line for more of the same if we see another freeze in the coming weeks and months.
Curt Morgan, who is the CEO of Vistra Corp., told NBC News there is one major issue that hasn't been addressed by the state when it comes to keeping the power up and running.
According to nbcnews.com:
That’s because the state still hasn’t fixed the critical problem that paralyzed his plants: maintaining a sufficient supply of natural gas, Morgan said.
Natural gas slowed to a trickle during the storm, leaving the Midlothian facility and 13 other Vistra power plants that run on gas without enough fuel. The shortage forced Vistra to pay more than $1.5 billion on the spot market for whatever gas was available, costing it in a matter of days more than twice what it usually spends in an entire year. Even then, plants were able to operate at only a small fraction of their capacities; the Midlothian facility ran at 30 percent during the height of the storm.
“Why couldn’t we get it?” Morgan asked recently. “Because the gas system was not weatherized. And so we had natural gas producers that weren’t producing.”
The story from the news agency goes on to claim that regulations left "too much wiggle room" for companies to weatherize their facilities. The news outlet reports there is not enough evidence and data to know if facilities have been weatherized.
When the news agency talked to the president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, he told said gas companies are moving with urgency to weatherize and are working to make sure more natural gas is on hand this winter for power companies.
I guess there is only one way to find out if the Texas power grid is truly ready for the cold and if we do see another freeze as we did back in February, it might not be fun to find out it's not ready!