ERCOT, power utilities respond to Tropical Storm Harvey
Conditions in the ERCOT region have remained steady as Tropical Storm Harvey continues, according to ERCOT, and the grid operator continues to see widespread transmission outages, especially near Corpus Christi and Victoria, Texas.
While power to some areas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey have been restored Monday, new outages are likely over the next several days as the tropical storm affects other parts of the ERCOT region, including the Houston area.
ERCOT noted that it continues to work with transmission and power generation owners to protect the overall reliability of the grid.
According to the 8:30 a.m., EDT, Aug. 28 U.S. Department of Energy Infrastructure Security & Energy Restoration “Hurricane Harvey Event Report (Update #5),” Harvey continues to produce heavy rain across southeastern Texas and Louisiana, which has led to flooding. Harvey will continue to impact the region through the middle of the week with an additional 15-25 inches of rain expected through Sept. 1, according to the report.
Harvey made landfall around 11 p.m., EDT, on Aug. 25, between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor in Texas as a category 4 hurricane, the report said, noting that Harvey was the strongest hurricane to impact Texas since 1961, and the first category 4 storm to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley impacted Florida in 2004.
As of 7:30 a.m., EDT, on Aug. 28, there were 1,415 customer outages in Louisiana, and 291,181 customer outages in Texas, the report said.
As of Aug. 27, 22 percent of the oil production and 25.7 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico are shut-in as a precaution, the report said, adding that most refineries were shutdown.
A federal major disaster declaration was approved on Aug. 25, the report noted.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 28 said that, in response to Harvey, he has activated the entire Texas National Guard, which will assist in the ongoing search and rescue effort, and will be involved in the extensive recovery effort in the aftermath of the storm, according to an Aug. 28 statement from the governor’s office.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in a 1 p.m., CDT, Aug. 28, public advisory posted on its website, said that catastrophic and life-threatening flooding continues in southeastern Texas.
“Harvey is currently drifting erratically toward the east-southeast, and a slow motion toward the southeast is expected later today through tonight,” NOAA said. “A gradual turn toward the northeast and a continued slow forward speed are expected Tuesday and Tuesday night. On the forecast track, the center of Harvey is expected to be just offshore of the middle and upper coasts of Texas through Tuesday night.”
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph, with higher gusts, NOAA said, adding that some slow intensification is possible during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles, mainly to the east of the center, NOAA said.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas listed “Hurricane Harvey Outage Links” on its website that included outage maps of such companies as Entergy’s Entergy Texas and American Electric Power’s AEP Texas.
In an 11 a.m., Aug. 28 statement, AEP Texas said that its crews had reduced the number of outages resulting from Hurricane Harvey to about 150,500, compared with the 220,000 consumers left without power at the peak of outages, which occurred at 2 p.m., on Aug. 26.
Thousands of resources have arrived from across the country to help AEP Texas with restoration efforts, the company said, adding that crews from Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and other states have arrived and are working on restoring power to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Weather continues to play a role in the current restoration plans, the company said, noting that flooding and newly ordered mandatory evacuations in parts of the AEP Texas service territory may impact projected estimated times of restoration.
AEP Texas projects that by 10 p.m., on Aug. 30, crews will have restored power to 95 percent of the customers within the City of Corpus Christi, as well as the Sinton area, the company said, adding that restoration dates and times are still to be determined for Rockport, Port Aransas, Fulton, Woodsboro, Port Lavaca, Lamar and Bayside. The devastation in those communities was the most extreme, the company said, noting that an ETR will be developed when the damage assessment in those areas is completed.
Restoration for most all other areas impacted by the storm is expected to reach the 95 percent completion level by 10 p.m., on Sept. 2, if not sooner, the company said.
Entergy Texas, in a separate Aug. 28 statement, said that at 10 a.m., 28,000 customers were without power, with some areas impossible to access because of the flooded conditions. Those hardest hit areas include Conroe, New Caney, Huntsville and Cleveland, the company said.
Nearly 600 Entergy employees and contractors are working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible, the company said, adding that that includes resources that have come from Louisiana to assist with restoration, and additional resources have been requested.
Entergy Texas said that it could be several days for power to be restored to most Entergy customers. The continued storms, flooding, high winds and damage resulting from it have hampered restoration efforts, the company said.
Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC), in a separate Aug. 28 statement, said that while extensive progress has been made on the number of outages from Hurricane Harvey, restoration efforts continue for its members. As of 10 a.m., on Aug. 28, about 3,100 cooperative members were without power, GVEC said, adding that the potential for extended outage periods remains in place through Aug. 28, and could extend beyond, barring weather and road conditions in certain areas.