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ERCOT Cancels Power Reserve Booster Despite Approaching Winter

There is a 17% probability of rolling blackouts

Even though this winter is expected to be especially cold and wet, ERCOT canceled its power reserve program, aimed at boosting reserves for 600,000 homes.

But ERCOT believes this will not be a problem. In an official statement, ERCOT noted that since the issues in 2021, many reforms and grid improvements were implemented, including weatherization inspections of electric generation units and transmission facilities, as well as adding ancillary services and firm fuel supply service.

“The request for additional capacity was an extra layer of precaution to mitigate higher risk during extreme weather this winter,” said ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas. “ERCOT is not projecting emergency conditions this winter and expects to have adequate resources to meet demand.”

This reserve boost program was canceled due to electric companies' unwillingness to reopen their unused plants. It only garnered proposals for power sufficient for only 2,200 households, all originating from companies willing to reduce electricity consumption in emergency situations.

Regardless of the market response, ERCOT believes significant potential exists for enhancing demand response capabilities across industrial, commercial and residential customer categories. The organization eagerly anticipates collaborating with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and stakeholders to investigate potential incentives and improved product designs in the future. Mitigating peak demand during crucial periods is deemed an effective strategy within the broader spectrum of reliability solutions.

“One of the important outcomes of this RFP process was learning what the market response would be to this type of capacity request,” said Vegas. “We’ll take these lessons and continue to work with the PUCT and the market to evaluate other types of demand response products that could contribute meaningfully to electric reliability in the future. In the interim, ERCOT will continue to advance its winter preparedness through the many reliability programs and tools we have available.”

A risk assessment report released by ERCOT this month forecasted a 20% likelihood of the grid experiencing emergency conditions this winter, along with a 17% probability of encountering rolling blackouts.