For those who missed all the excitement, ERCOT was forced to implement Stage 2 emergency measures, including pleading with customers to conserve power, Wednesday (September 6) evening as 100+ degree temperatures lingered across much of the state well into the evening.
The state’s expanding solar fleet goes dormant as the sunlight fades, and the ballyhooed wind fleets in West and South Texas have consistently failed to deliver anticipated capacity when it is needed most since July.
The result Wednesday evening at 7:29 Central Time, a few minutes after ERCOT’s Stage 2 warning was sent out, found natural gas delivering fully 2/3rds of all generation on the grid, and combining with coal to provide a somewhat amazing 82% of available power.
Solar and power storage combined were kicking in just 4% of the load, while wind was clinging to some minimal relevancy at just 7%. It is key to remember here that wind’s nameplate capacity is over 35% of all generating capacity on the Texas grid, yet only manages to deliver 1/5th of that when the generation is needed most.
Just 20 minutes later, at 7:49 CT, natural gas and coal were now delivering a workhorse-like 84% of statewide generation, wind was still stuck on 7%, and solar/storage were combining to contribute a rounding error 1.5%.
Again, in Texas in September, this early evening time frame is the time of the day when demand peaks and generation is needed most. It is unfortunately also the time of day when solar goes dark and wind most fails to deliver.
While our renewables-promoting media will no doubt coordinate with certain university professors to concoct elaborate pretzel-like logic deeming wind and solar as the heroes, as they did following similar upsets in June, what this incident really starkly displays is a grid that has been allowed by public officials and the virtue signaling Texas power generation community to become heavily over-reliant on unreliable, weather-dependent generation.
This is the most obvious thing in the world, and until power generators are forced somehow to correct it, nights like Wednesday will keep happening in Texas. Or worse. That’s our reality, and all the spinning of ridiculous narratives in the world will not change it for the better.