Electricity consumers to the rescue.<
That’s the message from an industry trade group, who noted that special programs under which businesses, governments and individuals curtail their electricity consumption have exceeded expectations.
The operator of the state’s principal power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, employs “Demand Response” programs to help prevent blackouts. Businesses and others that participate in these programs receive compensation for standing ready to curtail their power use when power is in short supply on the grid. The Advanced Energy Management Alliance, a coalition of demand response consumers and providers, reported that these programs exceeded expectations during a January 6th cold snap. The frigid weather that day knocked several generating plants off line. The cold weather also caused an uptick in overall power consumption.
All this led to the potential for system-wide power shortages. The ERCOT grid operators called upon participants in its demand response programs to curtail power use. According to the AEMA trade group, they delivered about 27 percent more power than had been required under their contracts.
“Hundreds of Texas businesses, schools, local governments and individuals participating in demand response provided 496 megawatts of capacity to the grid within 46 minutes of being called, an amount equal to the output of an average sized coal-fired power plant,” AEMA reported. “This demonstrates once again that demand response is a fast-acting, responsive resource that can help independent system operators and electric utilities maintain grid reliability.”
The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power supports properly structured Demand Response programs. If properly structured, Demand Response can help save money for consumers while simultaneously making the power grid more efficient, stable and environmentally friendly.
TCAP is a coalition of more than 165 cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.