The Wholesale Price of Electricity Spikes 10,000% in Texas Power Outage

Mish

A massive polar vortex spread across the South impacting many states. Texas was the hardest hit.

Spot Price Spike

The spot price of wholesale electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000% on Monday amid a deep freeze across the state and rolling outages among power producers, according to data on the grid operator’s website.

Real-time wholesale market prices on the power grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) were more than $9,000 per megawatt hour late Monday morning, compared with pre-storm prices of less than $50 per megawatt hour, according to ERCOT data.

On Feb. 10, well before inclement weather hit Texas, spot wholesale prices on ERCOT settled around $30 per megawatt hour at the end of the day, ERCOT data show. But on Sunday, the price per megawatt hour surged past $9,000 on the grid.

The above from Reuters.

ERCOT is a nonprofit independent system operator for the region. It performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas.

ERCOT Calls For Rolling Outages 

In a news release ERCOT Calls for Rotating Outages as extreme winter weather forces generating units offline.

Extreme weather conditions caused many generating units – across fuel types – to trip offline and become unavailable. There is now over 30,000 MW of generation forced off the system.

"Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.

Rotating outages will likely last throughout the morning and could be initiated until this weather emergency ends.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. 

Outages Lasting Longer Than Expected

Austin Energy says Power Outages Lasting Longer Than Expected.

ERCOT overnight declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3, which called for Austin Energy, along with other utilities across Texas, to begin rotating outages to close the gap between power reserves and consumer demand.

382,000 Without Power in Bitter Cold

KXAN reports an Energy Emergency. 382,000 are without power as outages lasts hours in bitter cold.

Traffic Signals Down

Six Killed in 130-Vehicle Pileup

Cars and Trucks are Wedged

A Massive Crash involving more than 130 vehicles on an icy Texas interstate left six people dead and dozens injured Thursday amid a winter storm that dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on parts of the U.S.

“There were multiple people that were trapped within the confines of their vehicles and requiring the use of hydraulic rescue equipment to successfully extricate them,” said Fort Worth Fire Chief Jim Davis.

“The roadway was so treacherous from the ice that several of the first responders were falling on the scene.”

The ice storm came as a polar vortex – swirling air that normally sits over the Earth's poles – has moved near the U.S.-Canada border, resulting in colder weather farther south than usual, said Steve Goss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

In Tennessee, police responded to about 30 traffic collisions and some flights were delayed at Memphis International Airport after freezing rain and sleet fell. In Kentucky, the governor declared a state of emergency to free up funding and help agencies coordinate as they responded to reports of slick roads and downed power lines. And in southern Indiana, schools and government offices closed.

Pipeline Shut

Mish

Comments (45)
No. 1-11
Eddie_T
Eddie_T

We had six inches of new snow last night. This on top of a thin layer of ice that’s been around since Thursday. When I got up it was 17F outside, the coldest temperature I can remember here for at least 30 years.

Fortunately we did not lose power last night, as the house is all electric.....we do have a fireplace, which is currently in use. Ice build-up on trees and power lines, which is more common than snow here, was a factor Friday night and we did lose power for a few hours.

I drove out to the lake house on Saturday before the roads got too icey....and turned on heat and cut off the water....broken pipes happen here when we get down to the lower 20’s or below. The boats have electric heat on the engine blocks....hope we didn’t lose power on them.

It is a glorious snow day and the neighborhood kids are using pizza pans to slide down the big hill beside my house.....no cars have made it out of the neighborhood today, AFAIK. It is pretty much unheard of for snow to linger here for more than a day or so...we shall see.

I wish I’d laid on more wood.

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

I'm drinking my coffee in my winter clothes in Orange County, CA right now. Winter clothes are a long-sleeved shirt and sandals. No socks today. Man, Commiefornia sucks.

Carl_R
Carl_R

It's nasty throughout the midwest. Forecast here for tonight is -24 degrees, but it will be better than last night. I'm on interruptible gas, and was supposed to switch to fuel oil, but my fuel oil nozzle isn't working properly, so it's costing me $1000/day to burn natural gas.

Too much BS
Too much BS

There are 9 Tesla charging units at North end of our mall visited by 1 to 2 EV a day meanwhile at the south end of the mall HUNDREDS of cars fill up at the Shell day after day. The current electrical grid cannot Supports 10% EVs and there are no plans of building more power plants for the EV dreams. Only chatters are about NUCLEAR solution.

Bam_Man
Bam_Man

I live in FL and am wearing short pants today.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

Continuing to watch the USD with interest. It made a swing low on Friday....but then dropped all the way back down that 90.27 mark in the overnight last night......the third time it’s been tested in a week.

My bride takes the hill

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KidHorn
KidHorn

Enron redux.

Didn't Germany recently suffer something similar when their green energy failed and they had to import a lot of their energy from Russia? Wind turbines stopped spinning and their solar panels were covered in snow. I don't think the rates went up nearly the same though.

This will cause a lot of resistance to the green new deal. Even though this had little or nothing to do with it. People will fear the green new deal will lead to similar price hikes and rolling blackouts.

RonJ
RonJ

Someone said that children would grow up not knowing what snow is. Lots of record low temperatures were set in the middle of the U.S.

I read there was some ice on the Thames River for the first time in 60 years.

Imagine this happening with only renewable energy available.

PostCambrian
PostCambrian

I thought this was only supposed to happen in California! Just a good natured jab. Everyone has their problems with climate change. California has drought (which it is not prepared for), right now Texas has cold (which it is not prepared for). As a Californian, I am willing to help my fellow Americans out in Texas.

Sechel
Sechel

A lot of this has to do with an inefficient and out of date electric power grid

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

Texas has additional capacity but was limited by the EPA. Read Order No. 202-21-1. Limited to out of state purchases first. Limited to minimum extra production necessary which can not be determined with such extreme variability. Any production above environmental regulated limits are subject to $1500/MWh vs. the normal price of $50/MWh. Producers required to purchase allowances for additional emissions.


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