A cold snap is headed for Texas after New Year’s Eve. The state’s grid operator conducted inspections of mandatory winterization efforts at power plants to avoid repeating last winter’s devastating blackouts.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) completed inspections at 300 electric generation units, representing 85% of the megawatt-hours lost during last winter’s storm and 22 transmission station facilities.
ERCOT is “confident that its electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization.
“New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared,” Rickerson said.
The announcement comes as new weather models via Bloomberg show average temperatures across Texas are expected to slide beginning this weekend.
In some cases, the minimum temperature will dive below freezing and could strain ERCOT’s power grid as energy demand would increase.
In terms of heating degree days, energy demand will skyrocket through the first half of January.
ERCOT has already sent out a “freeze warning” email to customers, warning them about the upcoming cold blast.
As you are aware, there is a freeze predicted in this area. We ask that you take the following precautions to help reduce the potential for damage to property as well as personal injury. -ERCOT
For the Lower US 48, meteorologists at private weather forecasting firm BAMWX continue to predict colder weather is set to trend for January.
There are definitely changes ongoing in the atmosphere that better support a pattern transition and more availability of cold air in January. The orientation of the Polar Vortex should allow cold air to bleed further east rather than be bottled up in W. NA. #Energy #NatGas pic.twitter.com/8ee5OwvMjT
— BAMWX (@bamwxcom) December 29, 2021
If colder weather is ahead, natural gas prices could get a lift. Futures linked to Henry Hub show an ascending diagonal support line where support could form.
Since Dec. 9, we’ve had the thesis that a cold blast was due to hit the US Lower 48 in January amid a very mild December.