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ERCOT Reinforces Grid Stability with Updated Emergency Reserve Requirements

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AUSTIN, TX – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), responsible for managing the state’s power grid, announced today a significant update to its emergency operations reserve levels, showcasing a commitment to bolstering grid reliability amid a changing energy landscape.

ERCOT has revised the minimum operating reserves (MW) required for each of its three Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) levels. This move is a response to the evolving generation resource mix that powers Texas’s grid, with an increasing share of wind, solar, and battery storage resources.

Woody Rickerson, ERCOT’s Senior VP and COO, explained, “The generation resource mix that powers the grid has changed, and how we operate the grid has evolved with it. By increasing the minimum reserve levels for the different EEA levels, we are better representing system requirements during emergency conditions.”

Following the update, the minimum operating reserve for EEA 3 has been set at 1,500 MW. This adjustment subsequently increases the reserve requirements for EEA 1 and EEA 2. Specifically, EEA 1 will be triggered if reserves dip to 2,500 MW (previously 2,300 MW), and EEA 2 will be activated if reserves fall to 2,000 MW (previously 1,750 MW). EEA 3, the most critical level, will be initiated if reserves plunge below 1,500 MW or if frequency drops below 59.8 Hz for any period, prompting controlled outages.

To keep the public and market participants informed, ERCOT has updated its Grid Conditions Page, aligning it with the new reserve requirements. Additionally, the organization has altered its communication protocols with generators and other market participants, introducing a ‘Watch’ notification when operating reserves fall below 3,000 MW and eliminating the previous ‘Advisory’ notification issued when reserves dropped below 2,500 MW.

ERCOT encourages everyone to stay informed about grid conditions by subscribing to ERCOT EmergencyAlerts, signing up for TXANS notifications, downloading the ERCOT app, and following ERCOT’s social media channels.

A thorough technical review underpinned these changes, with ERCOT analyzing system inertia from January 2019 through June 2022. The findings underscored the need to maintain 1,500 MW of operating reserves to prevent potential Under-Frequency Load Shedding (UFLS) activation, ensuring the grid’s stability and reliability, even in emergency conditions.

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