Major winter storm keeps trucking across the South

Power cut across Texas during nasty winter storm

Today, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the governing body that oversees the electric grid in Texas, has instructed utilities to begin rotating outages, which are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service that rotate through different parts of the electric grid.

Power grid operator Southwest Power Pool, which coordinates electricity supply across a vast swath of the country, on Monday declared an "Energy Emergency Alert Level 2" due to energy shortages. The outages also underscore the growing vulnerability of the grid as the globe moves away from fossil fuels to an all-electrified system increasingly reliant on renewable energy.

Responding to a request from Governor Greg Abbott, President Joe Biden granted a federal emergency declaration for all 254 counties in the state on Sunday, authorising U.S. agencies to coordinate disaster relief from severe weather in Texas. Utilities there haven't had to carry out rolling blackouts since 2011.

According to PowerOutage.us, about 2.6 million customers in Texas are now without power in almost every part of the state.

Parts of Texas were colder than Alaska, according to the National Weather Service.

Of the 25 000-plus megawatts of wind-power capacity normally available in Texas, some 12 000 megawatts was out of service as of Sunday morning "due to the winter weather event we're experiencing in Texas", ERCOT spokesperson Leslie Sopko said. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The spot price of electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000 per cent on Monday, according to data on the grid operator's website. West Texas Intermediate futures rose by as much as 2.5%, above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than a year.

More than 2,000 flights have been canceled amid the severe weather. "The southern plains are in a cold pattern and it is going to take a while for them to break out of it".

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