ERCOT continues winter preparedness efforts, additional weatherization inspectors deployed

AUSTIN As efforts continue to prepare the grid for the upcoming winter season, ERCOT on Monday announced that a new group of weatherization inspectors have completed the Certified Weatherization Inspector (CWI) program and will immediately be deployed into the field to begin inspections of electric generation units and transmission facilities.

“There are unique challenges that each weather season in Texas presents for the grid. The winter preparedness efforts made by market participants, reinforced by ERCOT weatherization inspections, continue to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the ERCOT grid,” said ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas in a news release.

ERCOT continues to deploy a comprehensive suite of programs and tools to ensure grid reliability and resiliency during the winter months, including additional ancillary services, an expanded firm fuel supply service, and the deployment of additional weatherization inspectors.

“The CWI program is an in-depth training course that requires participants to have a deep understanding of weatherization principles, techniques, and standards,” ERCOT Vice President of System Planning and Weatherization Kristi Hobbs said in the release. “Their expertise in the field will continue to support our advanced winter preparedness inspections.”

Ongoing Winter Preparedness and Grid Improvements

  • Weatherization and Inspections. ERCOT is entering the third season of winter weatherization inspections with enhanced requirements for generation and transmission facilities, compared to last winter season. The Weatherization and Inspection program is on track to complete 450 generation resource and transmission facility inspections this winter.
  • Firm Fuel Supply Service (FFSS) Phase 2. An additional source of onsite fuel for generators benefits the grid by providing a redundant, or additional fuel source should there be a natural gas scarcity. FFSS Phase 1 created the FFSS service (deployed for the first time during Winter Storm Elliott and then again for Winter Storm Mara). Phase 2 expanded Resources that can qualify.
  • Scheduled Maintenance Period. ERCOT has worked with generators and transmission operators to schedule their maintenance to prepare equipment for winter after running hard this past summer.
  • Forecasting Improvements. ERCOT has been working on reducing weather forecast error by procuring additional weather forecasts and developing load forecast models that are tuned for extreme cold weather. ERCOT has also improved the forecasting software testing process related to holidays and other outlier scenarios.
  • ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service (ECRS). Added in June 2023, ECRS takes advantage of Resources that can start within 10 minutes to address unexpected or rapid changes in supply or demand.
  • Fast Frequency Response Service. Added in 2022, this addition to our Ancillary Services takes advantage of the capability of faster-responding Resources to respond to events.
  • Improved, Transparent Communications. The Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS) was launched May 2023. TXANS is a communications tool to keep Texans updated on changing grid conditions.
  • Critical Supply Chain and Critical Infrastructure Map. This map was created in 2022 to share the locations and connectivity of all the critical components of the Texas power infrastructure with multiple state agencies and energy companies in order to ensure focus on critical assets during weather events.
  • Improved Inter-Agency Communications. Agencies are seeing improved, ongoing communications through both the Texas Department of Emergency Management and Texas Energy Reliability Council.