US Energy Department declares emergency in Texas amid power shortage

Washington, Dec 26 (Agency) The US Department of Energy has allowed the state of Texas to bypass some emissions standards for power plants in order to prevent a shortage of electricity during Christmas. “I hereby determine that an emergency exists in Texas due to a shortage of electric energy, a shortage of facilities for the generation of electric energy, and other causes, and that issuance of this Order will meet the emergency and serve the public interest,” Kathleen Hogan, Undersecretary of Energy for Infrastructure at the department, said. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked the US Department of Energy on Friday to exceed federal air quality restrictions in order to compensate for a higher demand for power amid unusually cold weather.

“In line with the anticipated circumstances precipitated by the cold weather event, this Order is limited to the period beginning with the issuance of this Order on December 23, 2022 through 10:00 Central Time [16:00 GMT] on December 25, 2022,” Hogan said, adding that since “the additional generation may result in a conflict with environmental standards and requirements, I am authorizing only the necessary additional generation on the conditions contained in this Order.” According to The Texas Tribune, electricity demand in Texas rose above 74,000 megawatts on Friday morning, setting a new winter record. ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said as cited by The Houston Chronicle that, amid unusually freezing weather in Texas, there have been about 11,000 megawatts of outages among thermal generators that use coal and natural gas and 5,700 megawatts among wind generators and solar units.