ERCOT CEO: Power grid 'ready and reliable' ahead of winter

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Editor’s note: The above video shows KXAN’s morning headlines for Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.

HOUSTON (Nexstar) — State and industry leaders assured Texans on Thursday morning that the state’s energy grid is sufficient for the cold months ahead, comforting concerns still lingering among many Texans since the devastating blackout of 2021.

“The power grid is as ready and reliable as it has ever been for the winter season,” Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) CEO Pablo Vegas said. “We have more generating and dispatchable resources available to the grid than we have had in any prior winter in history. So we are ready for that.”

Vegas said ERCOT has performed more than 1,500 inspections of power plants in the last two years and expect to complete 500 more this winter.

“The power plants are ready,” he said.

Gov. Greg Abbott echoed that confidence, saying Texas is “better prepared than we’ve ever been” for the cold.

Natural gas and geothermal energy giant Calpine also announced a major new investment into the state energy grid. CEO Thad Hill said his company is building a new 425-megawatt natural gas power plant in Freestone County, between Waco and Tyler.

“This plant… will be reliable, will be highly flexible, and will help the state when power demand is at its highest already at the site,” Hill said. “I hope that this decision is understood it reflects not only our confidence and ERCOT but also in the state of Texas”

Abbott stressed the plant will provide power to 85,000 more homes, adding to the 3,000 additional megawatts added to the grid this year.

The investment comes after the legislature approved a massive plan to provide low-interest loans to energy companies as incentives to build more power plants. The plan focuses on “dispatchable” energy, meaning fossil fuels that are readily available whenever needed.

“The fact is that ERCOT is better prepared this winter than any winter ever,” Abbott said.

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