The Texas Grid Came Close to an Even Bigger Disaster During February Freeze

May 28, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – The Texas electric grid came within five minutes of a complete collapse in mid-February. The problem could have been much worse. A little-known network designed to jolt the grid back to life wasn’t working properly. Texas grid operators, like their counterparts all over the country, rely on standby generators called “black starts.” Their job is to rescue the grid by supplying electricity to power plants so they can restart after a grid failure—roughly akin to jump-starting a car with a dead battery. When a freak winter storm hit Texas, nine of the 13 primary generators designed to get a downed system going again were, at times, out of commission, according to grid operators. And six of 15 secondary generators—the fail-safe for the fail-safe—had periodic trouble as well, including freeze damage and problems getting fuel. Those problems haven’t previously been reported. (Read Full Article)