How Much Demand Flexibility Could Have Spared Texas from the 2021 Outage?

1 Jun 2022  ·  Dongqi Wu, Xiangtian Zheng, Ali Menati, Lane Smith, Bainan Xia, Yixing Xu, Chanan Singh, Le Xie ·

The February 2021 Texas winter power outage has led to hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in economic losses, largely due to the generation failure and record-breaking electric demand. In this paper, we study the scaling-up of demand flexibility as a means to avoid load shedding during such an extreme weather event. The three mechanisms considered are interruptible load, residential load rationing, and incentive-based demand response. By simulating on a synthetic but realistic large-scale Texas grid model along with demand flexibility modeling and electricity outage data, we identify portfolios of mixing mechanisms that exactly avoid outages, which a single mechanism may fail due to decaying marginal effects. We also reveal a complementary relationship between interruptible load and residential load rationing and find nonlinear impacts of incentive-based demand response on the efficacy of other mechanisms.

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