Texas preparing to restart old power plants for summer demand

As Texas prepares for another difficult summer, the state's electricity distribution regulator announced that generators will be restoring several "mothballed" power plants to help cope with the growing summer demand.

While suffering through the hottest summer in more than one century last summer, Texas very nearly faced dramatic rolling blackouts across the state, as electricity demand neared peak capacity.

In response, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced that the state will be reactivating 2,000 megawatts of older power plants, including 430 megawatts that have been restored to working order since last year. This brings the state's generation capacity to around 74,000 megawatts.

"Even with this additional generation, we expect that there may be some calls for conservation when energy use is particularly high or if generation supplies are impacted by unplanned outages," ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett said in a statement. "Having nearly 2,000 MW of additional generation available this summer will help reduce the likelihood of rotating outages."

While the added capacity will help protect the stability of the state's electricity transmission system, The Austin American-Stateman reports many of these plants are as much as 35-to-40 years old.

PennEnergy's Research area offers assessments of Texas generating capacity.

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