Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition - October 2021

GOVERNMENT Federal report ndsmorework needed to prevent winter power outages

REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has made nine key objectives to avoid a storm shutting down Texas’ power grid again. • Revise reliability standards to weatherize generators • Compensate generator owners for the cost of building units to withstand the cold • Implore government regulators to require gas facilities to have cold weather preparedness plans • Ask natural gas facilities to weatherize equipment • Establish a forum to discuss how to improve natural gas infrastructure reliability • Identify and communicate reliability risks of natural gas fuel contracts • Host joint technical conference to discuss improving generator winter readiness • Perform inspections and maintenance of freeze protection measures • Reconsider inputs to winter season anticipated reserve margin calculations


protect cold weather-critical com- ponents; building new or retrotting existing units to operate in extreme temperatures; taking into account eects of wind and precipitation in winterization plans; and ensuring the system operator is aware of the operating limitations in the generating eet so it can plan mitigating actions. According to the report, the Febru- ary storm was the largest controlled load shed—meaning companies reduced power availability more severely than ever before—and the third-worst blackout in the country. Sta found February’s storm was the fourth in 10 years that threatened bulk power production. While many power-generating companies were warned in early Feb- ruary about the weather, many still were unprepared for the severity of the storm later that month, according to the report. In Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana,

Preliminary ndings from federal regulators indicate more needs to be done to weatherize the Texas power grid to prevent an outage similar to the one that happened in February. Sta from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. drafted the report after reviewing the multiday outages Texas faced. “We can’t allow this to happen again. This time, we must take these recommendations seriously, and act decisively, to ensure the bulk power system doesn’t fail the next time extreme weather hits,” FERC Chair Rich Glick said in a press release. The team drafted a list of 28 recommendations with suggested deadlines ranging from November 2021 to November 2023. The report lists its nine key objec- tives, such as revisions to require generator owners to identify and


Winter StormUri in February left millions of Texans without power for hours or days. COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER FILE PHOTO

during those days was half what it would normally be. According to the report’s authors, this loss was due in large part to freezing infra- structure; much of the Southern U.S. generators’ infrastructure is exposed to the elements.

natural gas production was reduced by more than 50% compared to its production levels earlier that month. That loss accounted for 80% of the total power reduction seen through- out the country Feb. 15-20. In Texas, the available power

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