ERCOT

Them Ol’ ERCOT Blues

Texans have (so far) not experienced widespread blackouts this winter. Still, many prepared for the worst heading into Winter Storm Landon. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Texas Standard: February 3, 2022

Winter Storm Landon wreaking havoc across Texas. We’ll be checking in with Dallas, Lubbock, Midland, Austin and more as we track the effects of what has been described as the first big test of the state’s power grid since last year’s winter storm that left millions in the dark. Also Mose Buchele, who’s been tracking the power grid and changes to the power infrastructure since last years deadly storm, brings us the latest on where we stand with blackouts and electricity supply and demand. All that and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 24, 2021

In the aftermath of a historic winter storm and deadly rolling blackouts came recriminations – but are we any more ready for this winter? Before the Texas power crisis of last February there were warnings about the power grid. After the storm came the promises for change, to fix the problems and to be better prepared for the next time. What did state leaders do to make sure something like the February blackout never happens again? And what role did deregulation play in the failure of the Texas power grid? From the podcast The Disconnect – answers to those questions and much more on a special edition of the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 23, 2021

It was an event that left an indelible mark on Texans – what exactly happened as a winter storm and blackouts rolled across the Lone State State? There had been warnings for years that Texas’ power grid was vulnerable. Yet on a mid-February morning in 2021, the lights went out for millions of Texans – leading to shortages of food, water, heat – and hundreds of deaths. A step-by-step look at how a grim chapter in Texas history unfolded earlier this year – leading to questions we’re still grappling with today. From the podcast The Disconnect, the 2021 Texas power crisis as it unfolded, on this special edition of the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 22, 2021

After the storm and deadly rolling blackouts – a major question remains: why was Texas’ power grid so vulnerable? In February, a winter storm brought the energy capital of the world to its knees, leading to millions of Texans without power, a death toll well into the triple digits – and many questions such as how the power grid could have succumbed so suddenly, without apparent warning.  There’s a history that’s unique to Texas’ power grid – one that involves football, subterfuge, and a whole lot of lobbyists. From the podcast The Disconnect, the story of the Texas power grid – on a special edition of the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 21, 2021

Millions of Texans lost power, hundreds died – months later, the question lingers: how did this happen? They call Texas the energy capital of the world, which makes it all the more a mystery. As a winter freeze gripped the state in February, a text message sent statewide in the middle of the night was the first hint most Texans had that extended blackouts were coming – an event that would bring the Lone Star State to its knees. From the podcast The Disconnect – an attempt to reconnect the dots behind one of the worst power-related disasters in Texas history, on a special edition of the Texas Standard:

Bonus: The Winterizing

Texas lawmakers passed a law earlier this year requiring power plants to winterize — but what does that really mean?

And what about winterizing other things that are needed to make sure the lights don’t go out in a storm again?

The Fallout

So what did state leaders do to make sure something like the February blackout never happens again?

And what role did deregulation play in the failure of the Texas power grid?

Find a full transcript of this episode here.

Bonus: The Black Start

In this mini-episode, we tell what happens next if the Texas power grid were to suffer a catastrophic failure. It almost did in February — and if it had happened, there might have been an even bigger problem.

Find a full transcript of this episode here.

Texas Standard: July 23, 2021

After the winter outages, Texans have been demanding a rethink of the Texas electricity market. Is it finally coming? Weathering criticism for its handling of winter outages, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, announces a redesign of the electricity market. We’ll explore the planned changes and what they add up to. Also, is Mexico breaking the free trade agreement with its Mexico-first oil policy? A bipartisan group of Texans asks President Biden to intervene. And endangered sea turtles on the Texas coast, now facing a new threat. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 22, 2021

Sounding new alarms over COVID-19… As state health experts warn of new cases, are the warnings enough? Experts see the COVID-19 data in Texas pointing an ominous direction, and though warnings for masking and vaccination continue, concerns mount over whether that will be sufficient to head off another dangerous spike in the pandemic. Today, our conversation with the Texas’ chief epidemiologist. Also the fight over COVID-19 disinformation. And after years of calls for changes, medicaid is being expanded to help new moms in Texas. The implications of that change plus much more today on the Texas Standard:

The Electricity Game

How did we get the power grid we have today? Andrew Weber has the story — and it involves football, subterfuge and a whole lot of lobbyists.

You can find a full transcript of this episode here.

The Energy Island

It was only when the lights went out in Texas that many of us realized — electrically — we are all alone. Claire McInerny brings us that story. Plus, Jimmy Maas tells us how the electricity market in Texas used to work up until about 20 years ago.

Find a full transcript of this episode here.

Texas Standard: July 20, 2021

Increasing concerns among doctors and other frontline health workers in Texas as COVID-19 cases rise once again. In some places in Texas, the COVID-19 risk level has again returned to historic highs as the Covid Delta variant takes hold. We’ll talk with two Texas health experts about what the trends are signaling. Also the FDA’s approval of an Alzheimer’s drug, and why some doctors are refusing to prescribe the drug, and lawmakers are asking questions. And an historic liftoff in west Texas. Plus the end of an era for Texas’ oldest licensed radio station? Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 14, 2021

A quorum busting escape from Texas by Democrats in the state House and Senate, and the effects go beyond voting laws. As Texas Democratic lawmakers abandon the statehouse to put the brakes on controversial changes to state voting laws, other bills remain in limbo. We’ll take a closer look at what’s been left hanging. Also, a new law set to take effect that would ban abortions after six weeks and allow individuals to sue anyone who assisted a woman in getting an abortion. A new study examines the likely effects. Those stories plus a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 15, 2021

A new warning from ERCOT urging Texans to conserve electricity. How prepared is the power grid for a long hot summer? After last winter’s deadly power outages, politicians promised changes to beef up the grid. But this weeks warning sends an ominous message about readiness as temps climb into the triple digits. We’ll have the latest. Plus, Houston’s plan to battle climate change with the help of solar panels. We’ll hear how that effort is going. And farmers say it’s not just sour grapes, but a serious concern over herbicides. Plus what’s being billed as the first scholarly book on the history of Juneteenth. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 20, 2021

The Legislature has the power, but does it have the will? Where’s the long promised fix to prevent massive outages like the one last winter? What happened to a much anticipated overhaul aimed at preventing another deadly round of power failures. Also an update on prison and bail reform. And as cryptocurrencies crash, the transplanted Texan who seems to have unusual power in the markets. Plus the best community college in the nation? a hint: it’s in the Lone Star State. And an historian pushes back on a project aimed at teaching what are described as Texas values. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 17, 2021

Much work still left to do before the gavel falls on the Texas legislative session. Reporters from the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News weigh in on what’s been done and what’s left to do in the final two weeks of the legislative session. Also millions of dollars to help stop evictions in Houston. Why aren’t all landlords taking the cash? And despite changes in policies under the new administration, transgender migrants stuck on the other side of the border. And something big brewing in Pennsylvania…now brewing in Texas, too? Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 9, 2021

The Speaker of the Texas House intends to fix everything that went wrong during last month’s winter storm. Dade Phelan has a list of priority bills and will tell us how the state could pay for these reforms. And in the aftermath of the storm, experts are carefully counting those who perished, it’s not as straight forward as it may seem. And we are keenly aware of the need to improve our mental health, we’ll tell you how some Texans are doing it. And one thing that will raise your spirits high is the sound of some Texas birds in song. All of that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: February 25, 2021

After days of finger pointing and demands for accountability, hearings get underway at the Texas Capitol to get the the bottom of last weeks outages. We’ll have the latest. Also, details from the governor’s statewide address last night on what comes next as Texans demand answers in the wake of last week, and solutions to prevent such failures in the future. And what Texas can learn from Australia when it comes to massive power outages and the politics of renewable energy. Plus a federal judge puts an indefinite hold on President Biden’s attempts to freeze deportations at the border. The implications plus much today on the Texas Standard: