Coal, Gas, Renewables, Wind

Hurricane Harvey Caused 10,000 MW in Outages, Increased Wind Production

By Editors of Power Engineering

Hurricane Harvey caused significant though largely temporary disruption to the electrical grid of south Texas, the Energy Information Administration reported.

At its peak, more than 10,000 MW of capacity experienced outages, along with a substantial number of transmission and distribution lines. EIA reported the outages were mostly caused by rain or flooding affecting generator fuel supplies, outages of transmission infrastructure and personnel unable to reach the generating facilities.

Most of the transmission line outages, including six 345 kV lines and more than two hundred 69 kV–138 kV lines, were in the immediate area along the Gulf Coast where the hurricane made landfall.

Even with the outages ERCOT was able to meet electricity demand due to significantly lower temperatures than normal.

Additionally, wind generation increased dramatically before the true force of the hurricane hit thanks to stronger winds. Though wind turbines are generally shut off at wind speeds of 55 miles per hour or higher to protect them from damage, and some in the area were shut off.