Confidential info from a market participant in ERCOT: As of ~10 AM Eastern time, the system has ~30 GW of capacity offline, ~26 GW of thermal -- mostly natural gas which cant get fuel deliveries which are being priorities for heating loads -- and ~4 GW of wind due to icing.
That is a HUGE amount of gas capacity offline, about 30% of total ERCOT capacity and ~half of the natural gas fleet, according to Dec 2020 Capacity Demand and Reserves report here:…

Devastating for reliability.
If we look at Winter planning scenerio ERCOT was using for 2026/27 (table below), they were planning for a peak demand of 67,512 "based on normal weather." Demand last night (in 2021 not 2026/27!) was 69,150

30,000 MW of outages right now = 42% of demand!
If we look closer at the ERCOT Capacity, Demand and Reserves report, it also shows how much wind capacity they count on in winter peaking events (below). They plan on different % of installed capacity to be avialable in each region: 43% for coast, 32% panhandle & 19% for other
In total, that means ERCOT is counting on 1,542 MW of coastal wind output, 1,411 MW of panhandle wind and 3,251 MW of other wind for a total of 6,204 MW of wind from currently operational facilities. 6.2 GW. Use that to track how wind performs during this emergency.
Now if we look at another table, we can see how ERCOT thinks it will get its winter capacity by fuel type. They assume 100% of thermal units are available during winter peaking events. In reality, they lost 26 GW (if my source is correct) = 35% of total 75 GW of total thermal.
You can also see in that table they count on wind for <10% of total winter capacity + thermal for 89%. No matter how wind performs this week -- important for future planning! -- it is the big failure of thermal plants, mostly gas units, that is causing such widespread outages now
As a New Englander until 2019, I know the region has long contended with -- & planned to address -- constraints on natural gas delivery in winter peaking events. They maintain large duel fuel capacity (gas units that switch to oil if needed) w/onsite storage. TX has clearly not.
Texas relies overwhelmingly on natural gas units for winter peaking capacity, 66% of the total or 56.1 GW. If ~26 GW is offline due to inability to procure fuel (as I've been told), that is a devastating indictment of ERCOT winter planning & major cause of rotating outages.
We'll learn a lot more as this winter emergency progresses, and as we get public reporting. That will inform how much of this was due to market design v planning failures. But counting on gas units to all be there there during extreme winter events is a clear recipe for failure.
The primary issues now appear to be lack of fuel delivery to natural gas units, both due to frozen gas lines and to supply prioritization for gas heating demand over electric generators. Some wind generators out due to icing too, but that's second order by far.
I'll end this here as I have to get back to work. I wish everyone in Texas best as they weather this emergency!

For those interested in the source of the data above (also linked above), see…. & spreadsheet here…
Clarification: Info from a confidential market participant/source. Not that the info is confidential! Sorry.
p.s. there's a #climatechange angle in here, as usual. The polar vortex is breaking down due to Arctic warming, which is allowing cold weather to spread down into North America more often, including today's cold snap…
More on frozen gas pipes…
Update: My source's data is confirmed by public ERCOT reporting available at…

Hat tip @joshdr83

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More from @JesseJenkins

17 Feb
#TexasBlackout update, 9:24am Central time: the grid operator @ERCOT_ISO's latest data is STILL reporting over 30 GW of thermal generators offline. ERCOT's 'extreme' generator outage scenario planned for just 14 GW. Image
Wind power is also at only 1,000 MW, below ~1,500 MW ERCOT planned for in an 'extreme low wind' scenario. So that's not helping either, but a far smaller contribution to supply shortage than the 30,000 MW of thermal plant outages that have persisted since Monday morning. Image
Demand served now is 44,539 MW, well below ~69,000 MW of peak demand experienced on Sunday in similar temps as today. We can't know the counterfactual of how much demand there would be if supply was adequate, but its probably on order of 20,000 MW higher than current levels. Image
Read 10 tweets
16 Feb
This is not correct. The PUCT statement says NOTHING here about gas generators disconnecting. It says that the Commission directed ERCOT to raise electricity prices to $9000/MWh during demand disconnects to reflect the scarcity conditions underway. #TexasFreeze #TexasBlackout
ERCOT runs the state electricity market and operates the generation & distribution system. Early Sunday morning, as generators went offline due to various reasons, ERCOT initiated an emergency and directed distribution utilities to start demand shutoffs (shutting off substations)
The way ERCOT's electricity market is supposed to work, if there is involuntary demand shutoffs like this, the price should be at the maximum allowed price or price cap, which is $9,000/MWh (typical prices are $30-40/MWh for context).
Read 15 tweets
16 Feb
Morning. The #TexasFreeze continues & grid operator ERCOT is still reporting >31,000 MW of thermal generation capacity out as of 9AM CT. Down slightly from a peak of 34,000 MW reported yesterday afternoon (…) but still >40% of thermal capacity in state! Image
Wind power is currently producing about 4,000 MW, or 2/3 of the ~6,000 MW that ERCOT was counting on wind to contribute during winter peaking events. Solar is coming online now and helping during daytime, exceeding the <300 MW it is counted on for in system planning. Image
Main story continues to be the failure of thermal power plants -- natural gas, coal, and nuclear plants -- which ERCOT counts on to be there when needed. They've failed. Of about 70,000 MW of thermal plants in ERCOT, ~25-30,000 MW have been out since Sunday night. Huge problem.
Read 17 tweets
15 Feb
Update: I've been digging into ERCOT's opaquely labeled Hourly Resource Outage Capacity data here. Current hour report below. Here's how to read it:

TotalResourceMW = Thermal Geneators (gas/coal/nuclear) out right now / forecasted for next hours

TotalIRRResourcesMW = portion of 'intermittent renewable resource' (IRR) capacity, aka wind & solar, that is not producing. This appears to be the total capacity of about 25.1 GW of wind + 3.8 GW solar minus current wind/solar output. This is NOT all forced outages (eg icing up)
ERCOT only counts on 6.1 GW of wind for winter peaking capacity and 269 MW of solar, so any number in the TotalIRRResourcesMW column < 22,531 means wind & solar are *overperforming* ERCOT planning expectations. So slight better than that at moment.
Read 6 tweets
14 Feb
As we talk about how to ensure a just & equitable transition to a net-zero emissions economy (see e.g. NASEM…), I highly recommend @OPB's Timber Wars podcast, which documents a tumultous economic transition that shaped my home state…
A transition to a net-zero emissions economy can drive a net increase of 0.5-1 million jobs by 2030 and 2-3 million by 2050, according to the @Princeton NET-ZERO AMERICA study, but that topline hides significant regional and local economic transformations & potential dislocations
I was too young to remember living through these days, but I grew up in the economic and physical landscape it left behind. This history is in my blood, in the names and historic economic centers of the places I grew up.
Read 6 tweets
14 Feb
To folks observing rollercoaster electricity prices down in Texas, where polar temps are driving prices up to $9,000/MWh: this us how it's supposed to work. It may appear costly, but in PJM we pay $11-13/MWh all year for large reserve margins to avoid this. Which is more costly?
Now, a "capacity market" as in PJM, etc, is like buying insurance. Sometimes that insurance looks great in hindsight. But it's also very costly, and you pay for it every month. How much insurance do you really want? Well you (customer) don't get to pick. The system operator does.
An "energy only" market as in Texas is a little like rolling dice w/o insurance at system level, but customers can (in theory) choose how to hedge themselves, via contracts or backup gen/storage. And anyone with flexible demand has HUGE incentives to flex it. That can save big $.
Read 8 tweets

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