^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

Tomorrow, the Dallas City Council Will Explore How We Keep the Lights From Going Out

In light of a few things -- namely the one-year anniversary of the most widespread rolling blackout in Texas history; the razor-thin reserve margins that left the state teetering on the verge of more rolling blackouts during that hot-as-hell summer; and ERCOT's assertion that there aren't enough plants to power Texas from 2013 on -- the Dallas City Council apparently thought it was prudent to have a chat about the state of the Texas grid and what it means for the city during its meeting this Wednesday.

Representatives from ERCOT and Oncor, the power transmission company, will be giving presentations. Here's what they'll likely talk about:

Dan Woodfin, ERCOT's director of system planning, will probably toss around the latest buzzword that's scaring the crap out of lawmakers: "Resource adequacy." It means that, come this summer, or maybe the next, there won't be enough power generation to meet those peak demand times in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

The problem, he'll explain, is that gas prices fell through the floor because the fracking boom glutted the market. And since the price of electricity in Texas is set 90 percent of the time by natural gas, profit margins these days are slim. Nobody has any incentive to build new power plants. This is exactly the opposite of how an energy-only, deregulated market is supposed to work, but that's the subject of a much longer story ...

Charles Elk, VP for Oncor Dallas customer relations, will explain how it responds to grid emergencies. Electricity supply and load demand must match. When it doesn't, uncontrolled blackouts affecting millions of Texans can result. If the available generation can't meet the system load, ERCOT may order transmission entities like Oncor to shed load, which causes a rolling blackout.

So, you know, if you're at all interested in why Texas will face significant obstacles to keeping the lights on, drop by or tune in.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.