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ERCOT says Texas power grid is 'ready for winter' after 300 site inspections

Energy officials earlier this month said the grid was strong as it's ever been and ready for winter weather.
Credit: AP
FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 file photo shows power lines in Houston. On Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting wind turbines freezing over in the cold weather were primarily responsible for Texans losing heat and electricity this week. Failures in natural gas, coal and nuclear energy systems were responsible for nearly twice as many outages as frozen wind turbines and solar panels combined, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's power grid, said in a press conference Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN, Texas — North Texas will see its coldest weather of the season this weekend, and state energy officials say the power grid is ready for winter.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, announced Thursday that it had completed on-site inspections at more than 300 electric generation units in Texas, which account for 85% of the megawatt hours that were lost during February's winter storm.

ERCOT inspected the units for winterization, which was required by the Texas legislature this fall in the wake of the grid's near-collapse in February.

“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” Woody Rickerson, ERCOT's Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization, said in a news release. 

Energy officials earlier this month said the grid was strong as it's ever been and ready for winter weather, as nearly all of the state's electricity generators had been winterized over the last two months.

ERCOT inspected 302 units for winterization, and identified 10 that needed corrections on the day of the inspection. ERCOT said Thursday that many of those corrections have been made since but that the 10 units, in total, account for about 1.7% of ERCOT's power generation.

ERCOT inspected 22 transmission facilities and found that six had "potential identified deficiencies," but that most of those have since been corrected. ERCOT said the deficiencies were "generally minor items," such as issues with cabinet heaters, and weather stripping on cabinet doors.

The winterization requirement - which includes a penalty of $1 million per day, per violation - was aimed at preventing what happened in February, when freezing temperatures drove the grid to the brink of failure and knocked out power for millions of Texans.

Earlier in December, Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission (PUC), called the grid "stronger and more reliable than ever" and that the "lights will stay on" for Texans.

"No other power grid has made as remarkable changes in such an incredible short amount of time," Lake said at a meeting of the commission and officials from the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Lake and the ERCOT CEO Brad Jones touted Texas' generator and natural gas supply and its winterization efforts over the last two months, including the implementation of strict penalties for power generation resources that don't comply with the new rules.