Natural gas set records during 2024 winter

Natural Gas Set Records During 2024 Winter

The implementation of additional weatherization of natural gas resources in Texas following the record winter storm in 2021 apparently paid dividends in January of this year, as electric generation by natural gas set a new record, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Natural gas is the largest source of electricity generation in Texas and the U.S.

“The electric power grid managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recorded an all-time high for winter natural gas-fired electricity generation for an hour in January, according to our Hourly Electric Grid Monitor, when a three-day cold snap increased electricity demand,” EIA stated.

“Hourly natural gas-fired electricity generation increased to 49.4 gigawatts (GW) for the hour starting at 7:00 p.m. central time on January 16, 2024, 1% more than the previous winter record of 48.8 GW set on December 23, 2022, and within 4% of the summer hourly high of 51.2 GW set between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on August 25, 2023.”

EIA said electricity demand typically peaks in Texas in the summer during heat waves and in the winter during cold snaps. During peaks in electricity demand, grid operators must have dispatchable electricity generation sources available.

“On a daily basis, natural gas-fired electricity generation made up 56% of all generation in ERCOT during the cold snap (January 14–16, 2024), compared with an average share of 46% for January 2024, as wind and solar electricity output declined and overall electricity demand for heating increased,” EIA stated.

On January 16, natural gas-fired electricity generation totaled 986.2 gigawatthours (GWh), 72% more than the January 2024 average of 572.9 GWh and just a little less than the ERCOT winter record of 1,006 GWh set on December 23, 2022, according to EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor.

“Net electricity load requirements (which excludes variable generation such as wind and solar) peaked on January 15 by 630.6 GWh more than the day before the cold snap started (January 13),” EIA said. “Natural gas supplied 78% of the generation needed to meet this additional net electricity load. Between January 14 and 15, natural gas-fired generation supplied 91% (164.2 GWh) of the increase in net electricity load.”

On January 15, increased demand in Texas for electricity led to record daily natural gas consumption by the Texas electric power sector, 8.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), a 0.1-Bcf/d increase over the previous record set on August 25, 2023, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

“Despite involuntary production interruptions including inclement weather, maintenance events, and temporary oversupply conditions on natural gas pipelines, natural gas supplies in Texas were sufficient during peak generation throughout the past winter,” EIA said.

Alex Mills is the former President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

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Alex Mills is the former President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The Alliance is the largest state oil and gas associations in the nation with more than 3,000 members in 305 cities and 28 states.


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