ERCOT expects record electric use, increased chance of energy alerts
The ERCOT region continues to experience above-normal growth in electric demand, with the system-wide growth rate expected to be 2.5 to 3% through 2022. Electric demand growth remains especially strong in far West Texas due to oil and gas development and along the coast where new industrial facilities are being constructed.
ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for the upcoming summer season (June – September), a preliminary assessment for fall and an updated Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) Report.
In all of the scenarios studied for the final summer SARA, ERCOT identified a potential need to enter Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) status in order to maintain system reliability. The final summer SARA report includes a forecasted peak demand of 74,853 MW, which is 1,300 MW higher than the all-time peak demand record set last summer on July 19.
"ERCOT is prepared to use the tools and procedures that are in place to maintain system reliability during tight conditions," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.
While operating reserves are expected to remain tight, total generation resource capacity has increased to 78,929 MW compared to the preliminary summer SARA released in March. This is due primarily to the expected return of a 365 MW gas-fired unit, increased output from certain units that are undergoing equipment upgrades, and an increase in the amount of DC tie imports, which is now based on what is expected during emergency conditions.
The planning reserve margin for summer 2019 has increased to 8.6% based on the resource updates incorporated in the final summer SARA report. The updated CDR calculates higher planning reserve margins between 2020 and 2023, primarily due to an increased number of potential wind and solar projects that are currently in the interconnection queue and eligible to be included in the CDR.
Since the December 2018 CDR, approximately 733 MW of installed wind and solar capacity has been approved by ERCOT for commercial operations, with summer peak capacity contributions of 333 MW. Twenty-two Distributed Generation solar units totaling 143 MW were also added to the report and have a combined capacity contribution of 106 MW.
Planned resources that became newly eligible for inclusion in this CDR report total 5,643 MW of installed capacity by 2023, including 517 MW of battery storage.
The CDR and SARA reports reflect the anticipated resource capacity available to meet the forecasted summer peak demand. This anticipated capacity may differ from what will actually be available based on system conditions and the operational status of the resources.