ERCOT observers warn of increased generation forced outages with rule change
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Board of Directors’ vote for a more restrictive generation outage scheduling rule change against the overwhelming opposition of stakeholders drew harsh criticism April 29 from industry observers — one describing it as “government intervention at its most meddlesome.”
Among those were NPRR 1108, “ERCOT Shall Approve or Deny All Resource Outage Requests,” which had drawn a sharp divide between ERCOT staff and stakeholders.
Neil McAndrews, an Austin, Texas-based energy market consultant, was “not surprised” by the board’s support for the ERCOT staff proposal, which he said “will cost more and lower reliability by increasing forced outages.”
“A small understanding of the issues often results in a poor outcome,” McAndrews said in an April 29 email. “The ERCOT BOD did not understand that the command-and-control limits proposed by ERCOT flies in the face of aging generation units with increasing failure rates. They voted for limiting planned outages to some abstract number that is theoretical and not based on the risk in the supply of generation. … Government intervention at its most meddlesome.”
Currently, only generation outage requests submitted with 45 days or less advance notice require ERCOT approval, while others are automatically accepted. NPRR 1108 eliminates the 45-day-advance-acceptance provision.
At issue is ERCOT’s Maximum Daily Resource Planned Outage Capacity levels, with ERCOT staff’s proposal setting the maximum at zero for mid-June through mid-September, substantially less than TAC’s minimum proposal at certain other periods, such as early and late autumn, and substantially more than TAC’s minimum proposal at still other periods such as the spring and mid-Autumn.