Texas is starting to roll out power outages to cope with freezing

(Adds Biden emergency statement)

Feb. 15 (Reuters) – The state of Texas continued to roll during deep freezes, leaving utilities encrypting to meet record-breaking power requirements and forcing the state’s network operator to enforce rotating power outages early Monday.

President Joe Biden approved the state’s emergency declaration and unlocked federal assistance to tackle the rare freeze.

Aside from Texas, much of the U.S. from the Pacific Northwest through the Great Plains and into the Mid-Atlantic states has been gripped by bone-chilling weather over the weekend with snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has sought to cut energy consumption in response to the winter record of 69,150 MW on Sunday night, more than 3,200 MW higher than the previous winter peak in January 2018.

Reserves have fallen below 1,000 MW and transmission companies have been ordered to reduce demand for the system, ERCOT said.

“Traffic lights and other infrastructure may be temporarily without power,” the agency said on Twitter https://twitter.com/ERCOT_ISO/status/1361215084010352644.

A level three emergency was issued by the regulator urging customers to limit power consumption and prevent an uncontrolled system failure.

The National Weather Service said an Arctic air mass had spread south far over areas accustomed to icy weather, with winter storm warnings for most of the Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and Missouri.

The storms knocked out nearly half of Texas’ wind power capacity Sunday.

Of the 25,000-plus megawatts of wind power normally found in Texas, 12,000 megawatts were out of service Sunday morning, an ERCOT spokeswoman said.

Wind production is the second largest source of electricity in Texas and accounts for 23% of the state’s power supply last year behind natural gas, which earned 45%, estimates ERCOT.

Energy retailers said last week that some 5-minute electricity prices in Texas were approaching $ 4,000 per tonne. Megawatt time. It compares to an Ercot North average of $ 26 in 2020. (Reporting by Aishwarya Nair and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Goodman)

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