Regulators warn of possible 'voltage collapse' in Dallas-Fort Worth


Ann de Rouffignac
OGJ Online

The Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas could face a "voltage collapse" as early as 2003, unless new generation and transmission lines are built to serve the region, the Public Utility Commission of Texas warns in a background paper �Meeting the DFW Challenge.�

Despite the absence of public discussion about electric reliability problems in Texas, the PUC is now holding a public forum Nov. 7 to hear proposed solutions from consumer and industry groups. The commission projects a shortfall in electricity during peak times for the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area as early as 2003.

The area is transmission constrained and faces tough new air pollution rules for its small fleet of old gas-fired generating plants some of which may have to be shut down. The DFW Metroplex area imports 65% of its electricity needs from outside the region. If plants are closed, the area could have voltage support problems, meaning reliability could be breached on days of high demand, according to the paper.

The DFW area is classified as not meeting federal clean air act standards (a non-attainment area) for certain air pollutants. Some of the oldest gas-fired plants with the highest rates of Noxemissions will have to be retrofitted or shut down to meet federal guidelines by 2003. Even further reductions in Nox emissions will be required by 2005.

The new environmental rules will make construction of new generation within DFW very difficult, the PUC says. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the PUC are encouraging solutions that will result in reductions in peak demand as well as improvements to transmission and generation.

Tight supply
DFW uses about 15,000 Mw of power but only has 5,800 Mw of internal generation. The balance is imported through the transmission system. Load growth has averaged 2.9%/year over the last 6 years for the Metroplex and is projected to keep growing at 3.4%.

New merchant plants are under construction in the North Texas region but most are being built outside the transmission constrained region of DFW. Inside the Metroplex, there is little land available for greenfield generation projects and the public has little stomach to allow new plants to be constructed. Some of the old gas-fired plants within the DFW area are not attractive investment repowering prospects.

Old plants
Most of the plants that are located within the nonattainment zone of DFW have completed or will soon complete the modifications to reduce Nox emissions to the levels required by the first set of environmental rules. But newer rules require certain DFW power plants to be retrofitted with new Nox reduction devices, reduce output ,or shut down. If the retrofits are not deemed cost effective by the PUC, the costs cannot be collected from customers.

�It is not yet known whether and how much existing generation could fail the retrofit cost-effectiveness test and thus require retirement,� the report states.

The risk of voltage collapse in DFW (shutting down the electrical system in certain areas to avoid a total collapse) is real�especially if many plants are shut down for environmental reasons and the load continues to grow, the PUC says.

Proposed solutions
Transmission alone will not fix the problem in DFW. ERCOT advises the PUC that a certain amount of environmentally acceptable generation will have to be available within DFW to maintain reliability of the system, according to the report.

The PUC says the most well received proposals will be those that include the following:

� Plans that can be implemented between 2001 and 2005.

� Plans that have long lasting operational value.

� Proposals that don�t require issuing a certificate of convenience as in the case of new transmission lines.

� Proposals that don�t require acquisition of new right-of-way.

� Non-traditional proposals that are competitive with traditional solutions.

� Solutions cannot require long outages of either transmission or generation.

� Solutions that cut demand at peak times and promote energy efficiency are encouraged.

� Distributed generation and price-responsive demand mechanisms plans are also welcome.

Related Articles

Russia’s Turkey pipeline deal possibly may keep door to Europe ajar

12/18/2014 Russia’s memorandum of understanding to build a natural gas pipeline to Turkey after canceling its South Stream project could help keep the door op...

EPP kills plans for Bakken-to-Cushing crude oil pipeline

12/15/2014 Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) has elected not to proceed with development of its proposed crude oil pipeline that would have extended 1,200...

Kinder Morgan to deliver natural gas to Corpus Christi Liquefaction

12/11/2014 Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) companies Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. (TGP) have entered in...

BG agrees to sale of Australian gas pipeline to APA Group

12/10/2014

BG Group PLC agreed to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Queensland Curtis LNG Pipeline Pty. Ltd. (QCLNG) to APA Group for about $5 billion.

More West Texas gathering, processing to come onstream

12/09/2014 EagleClaw Midstream Services LLC, Midland, Tex., has bought natural gas gathering and processing in Reeves County, Tex. The company declined to ide...

Methane controls just part of complete climate strategy, speakers say

12/08/2014 Reducing oil and gas operations’ methane emissions is an essential, but far from the only, part of a comprehensive climate strategy, speakers at a ...

Rail tank car rule could cost economy billions, report says

12/08/2014 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) proposed rail tank car rule could cost the US economy as much as $60 billio...

Renewed dilbit investigation faces similar hurdles of past debate

12/05/2014 A National Research Council committee opened a second investigation of potential environmental consequences from diluted bitumen (dilbit) spills fr...

Southwestern continues Marcellus expansion

12/03/2014 Southwestern Energy Co., Houston, has signed an agreement to purchase oil and gas assets, including 46,700 net acres, in northeast Pennsylvania fro...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected