Reports blame regulators and gas generation for the storm outages in Texas in mid-February, Texas


Texans have doubts about reaction

Capacity, price reforms advocated

San Antonios Muni has had a big hit

New reports attribute the mid-February energy emergency in Texas to state energy governance and gas-fired generation, and less than a third of Texans believe the state government “is adequately addressing issues related to the deadly winter storm that left about 4 million people behind.” becomes”. Customers without electricity, some for several days.

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The report’s recommendations include significant regulatory and market changes affecting the Electric Reliability Council of Texas generating capacity and wholesale electricity prices.

More than 39% of 1,500 respondents to a University of Houston poll conducted May 13-25 expressed a lack of confidence in the state government’s actions to help them, according to poll results released on June 25th Address issues caused by the storm, and 27.8% said they were “neutral” on the issue.

In an article in the recent July issue of Energy Research & Social Science, researchers from the University of Texas and other institutions said in an article, “The 2021 freeze suggests the government’s regulatory approach to energy needs to be reconsidered to avoid the future such results. “

“Weathering, demand response, and expanded interstate links are potential solutions Texas should consider to avoid generation losses, reduce demand, and unlock the capacities of neighboring states,” states the article titled “Cascading Risks: Den Understanding the 2021 winter blackout in Texas ”. The article featured work by researchers from the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Institute of Technology, AB Power Advisors, and Engie, the French energy company.

Other major fuel sources – coal, nuclear and wind power – also underperformed, the article said.

Capacity reserve requirement

CPS Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, the largest urban utility in the country, released on the 24th Reduced the Reliability of the Electric [Reliability] Council of Texas grid over the past 20 years; Put CPS Energy customers at greater risk of prolonged blackouts during a crisis. “

Recommendations include:

  • Ask all ERCOT market participants to have a certain amount of reserve capacity in “base load power plants, disconnectable systems or energy systems”
  • Ask Texas to guarantee loans to build or allocate such capacity
  • Encourage Texas to invest in larger connections from the ERCOT network to the east and west
  • Eliminate the ability of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to set wholesale prices for ERCOT power

PUCT noted on February 16 that wholesale electricity prices the day before were under certain circumstances well below the system-wide supply cap of USD 9,000 / MWh. In order to continue to create incentives for the performance of existing generation and to encourage wholesale-indexed electricity consumers – mainly industrial plants – to save energy, the PUCT has instructed ERCOT to set the wholesale price at the upper limit of USD 9,000 / MWh for the duration of the emergency.

An impact of $ 365 million

The duration of this emergency remains a point of contention in the San Antonio report, as ERCOT stopped requesting load shedding at 12:42 a.m. on February 18, but prices didn’t drop to market levels until 9 a.m. on February 19.

The pricing situation was particularly annoying for CPS Energy as the utility had to buy from the market due to outages in its own fleet, which the report said cost approximately $ 365 million in additional costs from February 9-20.

“Unfortunately, the indirect impact on natural gas prices if PUCT artificially fixed the price of electricity at $ 9,000 / MWh would have done even greater economic damage to CPS Energy,” the report said.

Spot gas prices charged to CPS Energy increased from $ 3.17 / MMBtu on Feb.9 to $ 175 / MMBtu on Feb.13 and $ 386 / MMBtu on Feb.17, before rising to around $ 25 / MMBtu fell.

Performance of the ERCOT generation during the February storm

Resource type

natural gas





Expected capacity (GW)






Extreme scenario capacity (GW)






Actual average generation (GW)






Deviation from expected (GW)






Deviation from expected (%)






Difference to the extreme scenario (GW)





Deviation from the extreme scenario (%)





Source: Energy Research & Social Sciences

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