A report from the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has stated that the massive loss of power generation during the Texas blackout in February was primarily caused by power plants freezing up under historically cold conditions.
ERCOT reported that on the morning of February 16, the most severe time of the blackout, 54 per cent of the loss of power supply arose from weather-related issues at power plants, while 12 per cent was due to a lack of fuel such as natural gas. Around 51 GW of generation – over half the system’s capacity – was offline at the height of the backouts. State officials are currently debating how to fix the state’s energy system to prevent a repeat of the power outages.
The ERCOT report didn’t explain why specific types of generation were unable to operate during the storm. The report said that over one-third of gas plant outages – about 9300 MW of capacity – was due to fuel supply shortages, more than had been previously reported.
After weather-related problems, the second biggest loss of generation was caused by planned or unexpected outages prior to the cold snap, which accounted for 15 per cent of lost power supply. Another 14 per cent of lost generation came from equipment failures unrelated to the weather. Only 4 per cent of outages were due to transmission problems.