ERCOT reserve margin declines further as municipality pulls Texas coal peaker
A month ago, ERCOT officials warned that unpredictable weather and a declining reserve margin were creating uncertainty for the grid operator and increasing the chance that rolling blackouts might be required in the summer months.
Now, with the loss of Gibbons Creek, the grid operator could face steeper price spikes or the need to shed load at peak times this summer.
In December, grid officials said summer performance would likely depend on the weather.
“Certainly, with a declining reserve margin, there is a greater risk we would enter into an emergency situation,” Pete Warnken, ERCOT’s manager of resource adequacy, told reporters in a December conference call. But ultimately, “it depends on the weather. … we really just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
With the loss of the TMPA plant, the Chronicle reports ERCOT’s reserve margin will be just a little over half of its 13.7% target.
The Gibbons Creek facility is owned by four Texas communities: Bryan, Denton, Garland and Greenville. ERCOT officials last year warned that seasonal availability was a growing trend for coal plants.