Power grid holds up to Heather

January 25, 2024

Odessa American

by Bob Campbell

Winter Storm Heather put Texas’ power grid to the test and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners and Texas Pipeline associations are gratified that it passed.

Rated the third coldest onslaught in recent state history behind Winter Storms Uri in February 2021 and Elliott in December 2022, Heather’s peak power surge of 78,138 megawatts surpassed Uri’s 69,812 when outages caused 246 deaths in Texas and left hundreds of thousands shivering in the dark.

“There is no question that efforts to ensure reliable electric supply are vital for Texans,” PBPA President Ben Shepperd said. “There is also no question that PBPA members are committed to doing our part to ensure robust natural gas production.

“To that end, natural gas was the largest percentage of the grid mix throughout this winter storm and that is surely because of the efforts that operators had undertaken to staff field assets in incredibly difficult times. PBPA members worked tirelessly in frigid temperatures so Texans across the state could be warm in their homes.”

Shepperd said all that work didn’t completely nullify the difficulties of the storm, which was extremely cold and windy with temperatures well below freezing, but thankfully absent Uri’s heavy snow and ice.

“Harsh winds did take down power lines and created localized outages that caused challenges including transporting natural gas,” he said. “Cold temperatures impacted public water systems and precipitation created logistical challenges and roadway hazards in some parts of the state.

Shepperd said the efforts of the Texas Legislature and real time direction by the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Public Utilities Commission, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Office of the Governor worked together in the State Operations Center to prepare for, monitor and address the challenge.

“Our work with this season is not complete and we expect more winter storms on the horizon,” he said. “The PBPA is currently working with our members to assess issues that occurred and correct them.”…

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