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

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

Quicksilver Canada gets LNG export approval

07/02/2015 Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc. has received approval from the National Energy Board of Canada to export 20 million tonnes/year of LNG from a pos...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Origin lets contract for Otway basin fields

07/02/2015 Origin Energy Ltd., Sydney, has let a $1.3 million (Aus.) contract to Wood Group Kenny for provision of a detailed engineering design for the onsho...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

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