ERCOT set for winter
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is preparing for winter and evaluating how well the region's power plants are prepared for the season's weather extremes.
Although it is the responsibility of generators to ensure they are prepared for winter, ERCOT and the Public Utility Comission of Texas are tracking their efforts and reporting the results to the Texas legislature.
"We developed a checklist of best practices for winterization, based on lessons learned during the February 2011 weather event, and we are using those checklists and interviewing field personnel," said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett.
ERCOT has determined that 47 units serving the region can generate power using either natural gas or fuel oil, although the generation capacity could be reduced using the alternate fuel.
ERCOT will also launch a six-month pilot beginning in January 2013 to enable resources to provide up to 65 megawatts of fast-responding regulation services (FRRS) each hour to help maintain system frequency on the ERCOT grid at the target 60 Hz range. The cost of the pilot project is estimated at $3.4 million.
Over those six months, ERCOT will test the integration of fast-responding resources, including instantaneous response from new energy storage facilities in West Texas, for frequency control purposes.
"This is a critical annual check on the settlement systems that handle the multiple millions of dollars of transactions that pass through ERCOT on a daily basis," said ERCOT board chair Craven Crowell. "The 2012 audit report found that ERCOT's internal controls are properly designed and that its settlement systems are working effectively — a clean bill of health for this critical function of this organization."