‘Lights will stay on’: ERCOT expects to have enough power this winter

Megan Armstrong San Antonio News

According to the report, the state has about 87,300 megawatts of capacity available in the winter season, while demand is forecast to peak at 67,398 megawatts, based on peak demands for the winters of 2007 through 2021. One megawatt is enough to power 200 Texas homes.

ERCOT, which manages the state’s power grid, warned that unplanned outages may be required in an unlikely scenario of high demand, like it did during the February 2021 Texas freeze – when Texans lost power and water. The rolling blackouts led to a total of 246 deaths across the state. The result made it one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. 

During its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said he anticipates the “lights will stay on” this winter under normal, and even some extreme conditions, but “there is a scenario that under the most extreme conditions, there could not be enough power.”

In 2021, the state at one point totaled 20,000 megawatts of demand. The rolling blackouts left some Texans without power for days during the freeze, causing hundreds of deaths. Bexar County reported the fourth-highest fatality total in Texas, according to a final report from the Department of State Health Services.

The Farmers’ Almanac, which predicted the 2021 freeze, forecasts that this winter will be colder than normal in the Texas and Oklahoma region. The Farmers’ Almanac predicts snow will hit parts of Texas in late December, but the true cold conditions will hit in January’s second week when “heavy snow” will hit North Texas. It will then get “much colder” into the fourth week of January where Central Texas can expect “significant snows.”