AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said Wednesday it increased the threshold it uses to initiate energy emergency alerts.

ERCOT triggers these alerts when the megawatt amount in operating reserves drop below certain levels.

According to ERCOT, it increased the minimum operating reserves requirements for emergency operations for each of its three Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) levels.

“The generation resource mix that powers the grid has changed, and how we operate the grid has evolved with it,” said ERCOT Senior VP and COO Woody Rickerson in a statement to KXAN. “By increasing the minimum reserve levels for the different EEA levels, we are better representing system requirements during emergency conditions.”

ERCOT said it made the change as it studied what it needs to keep to “maintain system reliability” even during emergency conditions. It said that level of reserves has increased as more wind, solar, and battery storage resources have supplied power during emergencies.

ERCOT said it will now require a baseline minimum operating reserve for EEA 3 of 1,500 MW (megawatt), which it said would automatically increase EEA 1 and EEA 2 reserve levels.

According to ERCOT, EEA 1 will occur if reserves reach 2,500 MW (previously 2,300 MW) and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.

ERCOT said EEA 2 will occur if reserves reach 2,000 MW (previously 1,750 MW) and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, or if frequency has dropped below 59.91 Hz (hertz) for 15 minutes (previously 30 minutes).

ERCOT briefly went into EEA2 on Sept. 6.

EEA 3 will occur if reserves drop below 1,500 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, or if frequency drops below 59.8 Hz for any period.

If EEA 3 happens, ERCOT said it would require Transmission and Distribution Service Providers (TDSPs) to implement controlled outages, which impact residential, commercial, and industrial users.

Previously, an EEA 3 was issued when ERCOT’s operating reserves dropped below 1,430 MW. When operating reserves dropped below 1,000 MW, and were not expected to recover within 30 minutes, controlled outages were activated.

You can check ERCOT grid conditions here.

ERCOT said it will now issue a Watch to generators and other Market Participants, when operating reserves drop below 3,000 MW and are expected to remain below that level for 30 minutes.

It said it will also eliminate the Advisory notification that was previously issued to generators and other market participants when operating reserves dropped below 2,500 MW.

You can read more technical details here.