ERCOT expects Texas electric grid to hold up strong in fall, winter
Following a summer of record heatwaves, Texas’ electric grid should hold up well during the upcoming fall and winter months, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates more than 85 percent of the state’s grid.
ERCOT’s seasonal assessments and early outlooks for October through February predict Texas’ grid reserves will maintain at least 3,500 megawatts of reserve power even in the most extreme peak demand and power station outage scenarios.
To contrast, ERCOT issued conservation alerts in August when reserves dipped below 2,500 megawatts during a time of 100-degree heat, power station outages and negligible wind production. The most recent peak demand record was set on Aug. 10 at 69,621 megawatts, ERCOT said, which was revised downward from the original estimate of 69,783 megawatts.
“As we head into the fall and winter seasons, ERCOT expects to meet systemwide peak demands in a broad range of operating conditions,” said ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher in a prepared statement.
Fall officially begins on Sept. 23, but ERCOT’s assessment starts with the beginning of October. ERCOT’s projections are based on average weather patterns from 2002 through 2013 with extreme conditions scenarios built in.
“We have seen some unusual weather patterns associated with warm ocean temperatures, but I currently expect somewhat average weather this fall, with the possibility of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation in most of the state,” ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman said in a statement.
With a new natural gas-fired power plant and three wind projects — a few other wind projects were delayed — added to the generation mix, ERCOT is expecting to have 77,289 megawatts of resources in the fall and 78,253 megawatts in the winter. Peak demand is projected at 49,709 megawatts in the fall. In a circumstance of demand coming in much higher, along with power plant maintenance outages and extreme forced outages, ERCOT still expects to have 3,606 megawatts in reserve.