News Release

February 18, 2014

New load forecast methodology moves forward

ERCOT to release Capacity, Demand and Reserves report Feb. 28

AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 18, 2014 --The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will release its next 10-year outlook on Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) later this month, and the report will include a new look at future electric needs.

ERCOT staff developed an updated load forecasting methodology in 2013, responding to changes in the relationship between economic indicators and energy demand in recent years. The new model uses growth trends in customer accounts, or premises, to project future growth in electric demand for each region served by the ERCOT grid. ERCOT released a preliminary load forecast in January.

At the Feb. 11 ERCOT Board of Directors meeting, board members instructed staff to release the next CDR report, incorporating the new forecast, as soon as possible. The report, which also will include updates to expected generation capacity, is scheduled for release on Friday, Feb. 28. The last CDR report was released in May 2013.

The new report will not reference a target planning reserve margin or adopt proposed new formulas for wind generation.

“I would like for us to better understand the pros and cons of using more operational data to set the wind capacity calculation before we settle upon a final number,” said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett.

Doggett explained that, although the updated CDR report will quantify Coastal and non-Coastal wind generation capacity separately, wind generation capacity overall will continue to count at 8.7 percent of total installed capacity. That percentage is currently considered the “effective load-carrying capability” of wind generation, although recent studies have indicated a higher percentage of capacity can be expected from existing wind generation resources in the ERCOT region during periods of peak demand. Additionally, wind generation from the Coastal region often is more prevalent during late summer afternoons, when electric demand in the ERCOT region is typically highest.

Chief Executive Officer and Operations Reports

ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett provided an update, which included:

  • ERCOT initiated an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) on Jan. 6, after cold weather drove up energy demand and more than 8,000 megawatts of electric generation became unavailable during the overnight and early morning hours when demand peaked at 55,487 megawatts (MW). No rotating outages became necessary during the event. The following day, when demand reached near-record levels for winter, more generation was available to serve consumer needs. The Jan. 6 event was ERCOT’s first EEA since 2011. Staff and stakeholders are using details of the event to evaluate future operations during extremely cold weather. Early reports indicate generation units overall performed better than they did during a rotating outage in February 2011. Another first-level EEA occurred on Jan. 18 when a large unit tripped, reducing on-line capacity by more than 1,000 MW. One MW is enough power to serve about 500 homes during mild weather.
  • ERCOT’s competitive retail market received the top ranking for the seventh consecutive year in the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States.
  • In 2013, consumers in the ERCOT region used 331.6 million megawatt-hours of energy, compared to 324.9 million in 2012 and 333.9 million in 2011.
  • Transmission providers in the ERCOT region have completed the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) projects that will connect wind farms and other generation resources in the West Texas and Panhandle regions to more populated areas of the state.

Board leaders and corporate officers re-elected, new TAC leaders named

The ERCOT board in February re-elected Chair Craven Crowell and Vice Chair Judy Walsh. The board also re-elected Trip Doggett as ERCOT CEO and confirmed other corporate officers, including General Counsel Bill Magness as corporate secretary. Additionally, the board confirmed Randa Stephenson, of Lone Star Transmission, as the new Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) chair and Chris Brewster, for the City of Eastland, as vice chair.

Independent Market Monitor report

Dan Jones of Potomac Economics provided the regular update on electric prices, energy use, heat rate, congestion costs, ancillary services and wind production and noted changes from 2012 to 2013.

TAC report

The board approved 10 protocol revision requests, three system change requests and two planning guide revision requests as presented by TAC. It also tabled consideration of one planning guide revision request that would change the transmission facility rating criteria used to determine when the planning process should begin for system improvements. The board asked for an ERCOT staff report at the next meeting. TAC Chair Randa Stephenson also presented TAC goals for 2014 and reported on TAC’s review of the load forecasting methodology.

The next ERCOT Board of Directors’ meeting is scheduled for April 8, 2014.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 650+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.