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Frozen wind turbines trigger Texas blackouts

GWPF, Reuters & Austin American-Statesman

The Texas grid operator has announced rotating blackouts amid winter storm and frozen wind turbines

(Reuters) – Rotating blackouts were enforced in the U.S. state of Texas early on Monday to reduce demand on the electric system amid icy storms, state’s grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a tweet.

“Traffic lights and other infrastructure may be temporarily without power,” the agency added.

The operator issued a level three energy emergency alert on Monday, urging consumers to reduce electricity use.

“We urge Texans to put safety first during this time.”

Ice storms knocked out nearly half the wind power-generating capacity of Texas on Sunday as a rare deep freeze across the state locked up turbine towers while driving electricity demand to record levels, ERCOT reported on Sunday.

According to a spokeswoman from ERCORT, 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 storm.

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Frozen wind turbines hamper Texas power output, grid operator says

Nearly half of Texas’ installed wind power generation capacity has been offline because of frozen wind turbines in West Texas, according to Texas grid operators. 

Wind farms across the state generate up to a combined 25,100 megawatts of energy. But unusually moist winter conditions in West Texas brought on by the weekend’s freezing rain and historically low temperatures have iced many of those wind turbines to a halt.

As of Sunday morning, those iced turbines comprise 12,000 megawatts of Texas’ installed wind generation capacity, although those West Texas turbines don’t typically spin to their full generation capacity this time of year.

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