ERCOT Confirms Resource Adequacy for Winter
ERCOT released its final winter assessment Nov. 2, indicating it has more than sufficient generation to meet an anticipated peak demand of 57,400 MW. The Texas grid operator says it has more than 79,000 MW of generation resources available.
ERCOT’s final winter Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) focused on expected reliability scenarios for December through February. It reflects forecasted expectations based on customer demand experienced during recent cold-weather events and current expectations for average weather this winter.
Warren Lasher, ERCOT’s director of system planning, said the grid expects to meet winter demand “across a broad range of operating conditions and weather scenarios … even during high-load conditions with extreme generation outages.”
ERCOT’s senior meteorologist, Chris Coleman, told reporters during a conference call that he is forecasting wetter-than-normal conditions for December and January, based on an El Niño winter pattern that “has an opportunity to be the largest on record.” In Texas, he said, that will result in cloudy weather, leading to milder overnight temperatures and morning lows.
“If, as expected, El Niño backs off in intensity by February,” Coleman said, “we could see a late-season cold pattern that drives temperatures lower across the ERCOT region.”
In February 2011, severe cold weather and unexpected plant outages forced ERCOT to call for rolling blackouts. While the grid’s reserve margin has increased since then, ERCOT has also taken other steps to minimize a repeat occurrence.