Amarillo’s Power Grid Avoids The Trainwreck that ERCOT is This Summer
The past few days I'm sure a few of you have seen some interesting things pop up in your social media feeds especially if you have family and friends in other parts of the Lone Star State talking about conservation efforts that uh... are well let's just say pretty rough asking Texans to turn the AC up to 78 or higher, not running heavy appliances and so on. A few others just take jabs at ERCOT outright.
So what exactly does this mean for the lights here in Amarillo? Are we in the same trouble? Thankfully No...
We're Not Getting Our Power From ERCOT
Remember all the fun we had in February? Yes it was cold but for the most part we kept power here in the Golden Spread with a few slivers of the region having some minor issues. Meanwhile our friends down in Lubbock looked at the hot steaming dumpster fire that is ERCOT then and figured "I gotta get me some of that!" they have since jumped over and are now fully on the state grid and subject to the same harsh demands other Texans are. That's a story for another day though.
The reason we continue to luck out is we are part of the Southwest Power Pool a regional grid that despite the name is actually part of the larger Eastern Interconnection which includes generational capacity from the midwest all the way to the east coast.
More Generation = More Reserve Capacity
Because we are on the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) we share electricity across a much wider region. According to officials from Xcel Energy speaking to our news partner ABC 7 there are plenty of reserves to go around despite the heatwave.
" We are asked to keep about a 12 percent reserve for our region here but this summer we are actually probably closer to a 20 percent reserve. Something can happen, we could have a big storm come through and knock down a bunch of our transmission lines or we could have something happen at a plant and it could change that but in terms of planning and what we know we have today, we are sitting in a pretty good position"
Basically put, even with all the heat, generation capacity in other states helps slack the demand and keeps reserves in check.
You should still conserve when you can, if you can run your AC at 74 instead of 70 that helps, not only the grid but your wallet too, especially if you're not at home during the day. Good common sense goes a long way. Thankfully for at least the foreseeable future our lights are going to stay on.