Seasonal and long-term reports show adequate generation resources expected in ERCOT region
AUSTIN, TX, May 4, 2015 — Reports released today by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of Texas, forecast sufficient electric generation capacity to serve expected power demands for the coming summer and fall. Additionally, long-term planning reserve margins currently are projected to remain in the double digits through 2025.
The final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for this summer anticipates more than 77,000 megawatts (MW) of available generation resources to serve expected peak demand of about 68,000 MW. One MW is enough electricity to serve about 200 homes on a hot summer afternoon.
"Based on the information we have today, ERCOT expects to have sufficient resources to keep up with demand this summer," said ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. "While we anticipate plenty of reserves, we also remind consumers that unusually extensive generation outages during extremely hot weather or localized challenges in some areas, such as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, could result in a need to reduce demand on all or part of the system."
The new assessment includes an updated peak demand forecast that reflects milder summer weather, compared to the 12-year average weather used in the preliminary report released in March.
"Current trends favor weather conditions similar to those we saw in 2014," said ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman. "We also may continue to experience somewhat wetter conditions, which is good news as long-term drought conditions continue to improve in much of the state."
Expected generation resources have increased since release of the preliminary assessment, with addition of a 717 MW natural gas-fired plant that will begin operating earlier than previously projected, more than offsetting removal of a 294 MW project that has been delayed. New wind generation resources totaling 1,265 MW are included as an additional 152 MW of planned resources, or 12 percent of total nameplate capacity. Additionally, a three-unit, 403-MW facility, which previously was affected by a lack of cooling water, is expected to return this summer.
The Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) report, a 10-year outlook also released today, projects a 17 percent planning reserve margin in summer 2016, based on ERCOT’s current load forecast and capacity information provided by generation providers. The projected margin increases incrementally to 18.5 percent in 2017 and 21.4 percent in 2018 before declining over time to 10.4 percent in 2025.
"We continue to monitor potential impacts of various environmental regulations and other factors on the future generation resource outlook," Lasher said. "This CDR includes more than 4,500 MW in planned resource additions, including nearly 2,600 MW of new natural gas-fired capacity, through 2017." Peak demand forecasts in the CDR load forecast are based on 12-year average weather conditions.
The ERCOT region also added nearly 1,400 MW in newly installed wind generation capacity and 29 MW of new solar capacity since the last 10-year outlook was released in December 2014. Wind generation resources are included in the summer CDR outlook at 12 percent of nameplate capacity for non-coastal facilities and 56 percent for coastal facilities and in winter projections at 18 percent for non-coastal and 37 percent for facilities in counties along the Gulf Coast. Solar capacity will continue to count at 100 percent until ERCOT reaches a 200-MW threshold for utility scale solar capacity. At that time, historical operational data will be used for future forecasts.
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.