Xcel Energy prepared for high summer electricity demand
Xcel Energy’s system in Texas and New Mexico is in good shape to provide enough power to meet summer demand and is supported by strong connections to the Southwest Power Pool and its large generating capacity, the company announced in a press release Wednesday.
This contrasts with the recent weekend when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked customers to avoid using major appliances and set their thermostats higher after six factories unexpectedly went offline. Xcel Energy is not connected to the Texas grid operated by ERCOT.
“We are completing spring maintenance projects at our regional power plants and expect all of our resources to be available during peak periods of electricity demand,” said David Hudson, President of Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas in the release. “Additionally, we have invested heavily in new and upgraded substations and lines across the region to ensure the free flow of electricity, especially in areas that have seen strong growth.”
Xcel Energy’s Texas-New Mexico system is part of the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees the reliability of a multi-state transmission network and operates a wholesale power market. A decade of investing in new transmission connections within the regional service area and to other SPP members has enabled Xcel Energy to tap into abundant sources of energy that complement a large amount of generation capacity located in the area, Hudson said.
Recent news about Texas power plants shutting down for maintenance during a heatwave involved plants operating in other parts of Texas outside of the Xcel Energy or SPP footprint, the company said.
“Our Texas customers may hear reports of potential power outages in the state, but it’s important to remember that these reports address conditions outside of Xcel Energy’s service area,” Hudson said. “We are not immune to the effects of high heat or unforeseen maintenance issues, but from an operational and planning perspective, we are in a strong position in the Panhandle and South Plains areas that we serve.”
Xcel Energy is regulated differently than downstate Texas electricity providers and must show that it has sufficient capacity to meet expected peak demands and always has at least 12% reserve. The company has met that requirement with room for the summer months, Hudson said.
Xcel Energy owns and operates seven conventional power plants in its Texas-New Mexico region and two large wind energy facilities. The company also has long-term power purchase agreements with other regional power producers and has quadrupled its transmission import capacity over the past decade. Hudson also pointed out that the company has invested heavily in local distribution systems to ensure the free flow of electricity through local neighborhoods on hot days. Ongoing projects to normalize tensions in communities across the region ensure that if heat-related outages occur, crews can quickly reroute power to minimize disruption.
“It’s an ongoing effort to keep our system at peak readiness and to ensure we have the ability to grow,” Hudson said.
Additional details on Xcel Energy’s grid investments in its Texas and New Mexico region are available at Our Energy Future Southwest at xcelenergy.com.
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