ERCOT interim CEO Brad Jones said the grid operator needs more advance warning of potentially disruptive gas shortages.
A special “gas desk” to monitor the supply of natural gas to the state’s power plants may begin operating eventually at ERCOT, according to a plan floated by the grid operator’s interim director.
Speaking during a recent energy forum in Dallas, ERCOT interim CEO Brad Jones said the grid operator needs more advance warning of potentially disruptive gas shortages. Experts have identified such gas supply interruptions at electricity plants as major contributing factors behind last February’s statewide outages.
“Not having that information is a concern to me,” Jones said during the January 28 forum. “ERCOT should have that information. And if we have a gas desk, a person that sits with the other operators of the electric grid 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that person could assist us by making sure everyone is informed of when maintenance is occurring, when their outages due to breakage and equipment.”
No additional details as when ERCOT might create a “gas desk” were included in published reports. However, Jones told a Dallas-area television reporter that he already has identified problems that could warrant the creation of such a desk. For instance, in one case last fall ERCOT did not receive advance notification of maintenance work on a pipeline that connected to a key power plant, Jones said.
Moreover, other reports also have suggested that cold temperatures continue stymying gas production in Texas. According to estimates from Bloomberg and other industry analysts, Texas gas production dropped by around 20 percent during a cold front in early January. Reasons for the decline — which apparently was the largest since last February’s winter storm — included weather-related equipment failures, according to documents filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.