AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas provides real-time updates to its grid conditions online.

It also added a new tool in mid-December, updating its Fuel Mix dashboard to show the generation by resource type.

People can explore ERCOT’s grid and market conditions tools online.

Operating Reserves and Grid Conditions

This dashboard allows you to look at operating reserves. ERCOT says the grid conditions meter shows the current state of the grid as well as the amount of operating reserves at the time. The meter is color-coded to show if the grid is being strained and when conservation is requested from the public. Below are the different stages, according to the ERCOT website:

  • Green: The grid is operating under normal conditions.
  • Yellow: Energy conservation is requested.
  • Orange (Energy Emergency Level 1): Emergency operations have begun due to low power reserves, but there are no controlled outages at this time. Energy conservation is requested.
  • Red (Energy Emergency Level 2): The emergency level has been raised due to continued low power reserves. Energy conservation is requested. It is advised to create a plan in case controlled outages are needed later. Those with critical medical needs should register with their local utility and have a backup plan.
  • Black (Energy Emergency Level 3): The highest level of emergency operations. Local electric utilities have been instructed to begin controlled outages. Health and safety should be made a priority by using city or county instructions and resources. Energy conservation is critical. 

Supply and Demand

This dashboard shows the power grid’s current power supply and demand in real time. The graph also shows projected power supply and demand from hourly forecasts.

There are three different data sets represented on the graph, according to ERCOT:

  • Committed Capacity (solid purple line): This shows historical committed capacity or the amount of power that was available from online generating units, according to ERCOT’s website.
  • Demand (turquoise line): This shows the historical system demand or the amount of power used. A dotted turquoise line is used to represent the expected future demand.
  • Quick start capacity (shaded purple area): This shows capacity that can be provided by generating units that can come online within 10 minutes of getting a notice from ERCOT.

There’s also a dashboard showing the system-wide demand, which updates in real time as well. It also projects future supply and demand. According to ERCOT, it shows the current forecast (solid purple line), actual hourly average (turquoise line) and a forecast for the next day (dotted purple line).

Fuel Mix

The Fuel Mix dashboard shows what sources are providing energy to the Texas grid in real time. Texas uses a mix of natural gas, solar, wind, hydro, coal and lignite and nuclear, as well as power stored, to provide energy to the grid. It’s represented both as a percentage and in mega watts. “1 MW of electricity can power about 200 Texas homes during periods of peak demand,” according to the ERCOT website.

ERCOT also provides information on real-time locational prices, combined wind and solar generation, ancillary services, DC tie flows, system-wide prices and a weather forecast for the state.

The grid manager has updated and refined the data tools available to the public since the 2021 winter storm that left millions without power.

(Information from KXAN.com)