Seasonal assessments show sufficient generation for fall and winter
AUSTIN, TX, Sept. 2, 2020 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve system-wide forecasted peak demand this fall and winter.
ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the upcoming fall season (October-November 2020) and its preliminary assessment for the winter season (December 2020-February 2021).
"We study a range of normal to extreme scenarios prior to each season to determine whether there are any operational risks associated with meeting the forecasted peak demand," said Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken. "At this time, our assessments show there will be adequate generation for fall and winter."
The peak demand forecasts for fall and winter were developed using revised Moody’s economic data obtained in April 2020. The final fall SARA includes a 60,966 MW peak demand forecast, which is unchanged from the preliminary fall forecast and is based on normal weather conditions during fall peak demand periods, from 2004 through 2018.
ERCOT anticipates there will be more than 86,000 MW of resource capacity available at the start of the fall season, including 1,475 MW of planned wind and solar capacity that is expected to be available during fall peak demand periods.
This fall SARA includes a unit outage forecast of 14,267 MW, which is based on the historical average of outages for weekday peak hours for each of the last three fall seasons (2017-2019).
The preliminary winter SARA includes a peak demand forecast of 57,699 MW, which is well below the winter peak demand record of 65,915 MW set on Jan. 17, 2018. The forecast is based on normal weather conditions during winter peak periods, from 2004 through 2018.
An additional 1,359 MW of planned winter-rated resource capacity is expected to be added between now and the start of the winter season.
The preliminary winter SARA includes a unit outage forecast of 8,617 MW based on normal winter weather conditions. For the extreme outage scenario included in the assessment, ERCOT is now using the region’s most recent cold weather event that occurred on Jan. 17, 2018, along with a three-year outage history to calculate the amount of potential outages.
Due to the increased amount of renewables on the ERCOT system, the grid operator has also included a low wind output scenario in the preliminary winter SARA. Moving forward, ERCOT will begin including a low wind output scenario in all of its seasonal assessments.
The final winter SARA for 2020-21 will be released in early November.
Background on the SARA
The SARA 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.
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.