ERCOT expects adequate generation for upcoming fall and winter
AUSTIN, TX, Sept. 1, 2016 — ERCOT, which operates the electric grid serving 90 percent of Texas, expects to have enough generation available to meet the region’s electricity demands this fall and winter.
ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for fall (October-November) and the preliminary outlook for winter (December-February). The SARA report looks at the potential variables that may affect the availability of installed resources to meet the peak electric demand on the ERCOT system during each season.
"We study multiple scenarios, including extreme cases of very cold conditions and outages of significant amounts of generation capacity," said Warren Lasher, ERCOT director of System Planning. "Based on the current forecast, we expect to have sufficient generation to carry us through high demand periods during the upcoming seasons."
"While fall 2015 was the seventh warmest on record for Texas, we’re expecting this fall to reflect near-normal temperatures across most of ERCOT, with rainfall in the near-normal to above-normal ranges," said ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman. "Combined, 2015 and 2016 are on track to be the wettest two consecutive years in Texas weather history."
The fall SARA report includes more than 82,000 megawatts (MW) of total generation capacity and a peak demand forecast of about 54,400 MW, which is unchanged from the forecast released with the preliminary fall SARA in May 2016. One MW of demand is typically enough to power about 500 homes during mild weather conditions and about 200 homes during summer peak demand.
Since the release of the preliminary report, four gas-fired combustion turbine units and three wind projects began operating, adding nearly 900 MW of fall capacity for peak demand.
The forecast also accounts for a range of about 13,700 to more than 19,000 MW of planned and un-planned outages. Generating units often are taken out of service during fall and spring for routine maintenance. This helps prepare those units for more extreme weather during winter and summer.
The preliminary SARA report for winter also reflects sufficient generation through high demand periods. The forecasted peak demand is just under 59,000 MW, exceeding the current all-time winter demand record of 57,265 MW set on Feb. 10, 2011.
About 1,200 MW of new winter-rated capacity is expected to be in service at the start of the winter season. The final winter SARA report will be released in November.
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.