Hack the Plant Episode 12: ERCOT and the Texas Power Outage

“All types of generation that are part of the ERCOT mix suffered or none of them were at full capacity. All types of generations suffered some sort of outage due to the weather….demand was exceeding the diminished supply. Power plants were tripping offline. There just was not enough supply to meet customer demand.”

Today on Hack the Plan[e]t,  Beth Garza, a senior fellow with the Energy & Environmental Policy Team at R St and former director of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, aka ERCOT explains the power outage that crippled the state of Texas back in February during a week of record-cold temperatures. Three severe winter storms and an electricity generation failure left almost 5 million without power, and gave rise to shortage of heat, food and water.

Over the course of her 35-year career in the electric utility industry,  Beth Garza has held a variety of leadership roles in generation and transmission planning, system operations, regulatory affairs and market design for both regulated and competitive entities.

In this episode, we discuss how ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers – and how the massive power failure happened.

What does this power outage suggest about the resilience of our critical infrastructure? Join us for an in-depth discussion.

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Joshua Corman: 

Our dependence on connected technology is growing faster than our ability to secure it, especially in areas affecting public safety and human life.

Bryson Bort: 

I’m Bryson Bort. And this is Hack the Plant. Electricity, finance, transportation, our water supply. We take these critical infrastructure systems for granted, but they’re all becoming increasingly dependent on the internet to function. Every day I ask and look for answers to the questions. Does our connectivity leave us more vulnerable to attacks by our enemies? I’m a senior fellow at the R street Institute and the co-founder of the nonprofit ICS Village, educating people on critical infrastructure security with hands-on examples, not just nerd stuff. I…