Grid operator predicts record-breaking peak demand this summer
Strong Texas economy and generation retirements tighten reserves
AUSTIN, TX, March 1, 2018 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, is predicting record-breaking peak usage this summer driven by the strong Texas economy. ERCOT also expects the recent retirement of older generating units to result in tight operating reserves.
ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the upcoming spring season (March – May) and its preliminary assessment for the summer season (June – September).
"The ERCOT market has experienced a series of new peak demand records over the last few years as Texas’ economy continues to grow at record pace," Bill Magness, ERCOT President & CEO said. "We expect high peak demand will continue this summer."
The ERCOT wholesale market provides strong financial incentives for generators to be available when demand rises, and for retail electric providers to prepare for price fluctuations.
ERCOT also anticipates voluntary load reductions and an increase in power sold in the market by industrial facilities in response to higher power prices during peak demand.
"At ERCOT, our focus this summer will be on performance," said Magness. "We expect everyone involved in the electric business in ERCOT, including ERCOT as the grid operator, along with the generation and transmission owners, retail marketers and those involved in demand response will be focused on maximizing performance as well."
Total resource capacity for the upcoming summer is expected to be 77,658 MW. The preliminary summer SARA report includes a 72,974 MW summer peak load forecast based on normal weather conditions for 2002-2016. This forecast is higher than the all-time summer peak demand record of 71,110 MW set on Aug. 11, 2016. Almost 3,800 MW in new generation resources began operating in 2017, and more than 14,000 MW of resources are planned to be in service by 2020.
The final summer SARA report will be released in May and will reflect the expected summer weather conditions.
ERCOT on Thursday also released the final SARA report for spring. At this time, ERCOT anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet system-wide demand under a range of extreme system conditions. The adjusted spring peak load forecast is expected 59,477 MW.
About the SARA
The SARA report is based on an assessment of generation availability and expected peak demand conditions at the time it was prepared. The assessment takes into account expected generation outages that typically occur during each season for routine maintenance, as well as a range of generation outage scenarios and weather conditions that could affect seasonal demand.