Seasonal assessments show sufficient generation for winter and spring
AUSTIN, TX, Nov. 5, 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 winter and in spring 2021.
ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the upcoming winter season (December 2020 – February 2021) and its preliminary assessment for the spring season (March – May 2021).
"In the winter, we’re dealing with morning and evening peaks and sometimes extreme volatility in the weather," said Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken. "We studied a range of potential risks under both normal and extreme conditions, and believe there is sufficient generation to adequately serve our customers."
The peak demand forecasts for winter 2020-21 and spring 2021 were developed using Moody’s economic data obtained in April 2020. The winter SARA includes a 57,699 MW winter peak demand forecast, which is based on normal weather conditions during peak periods, from 2004 through 2018. ERCOT’s all-time winter peak demand record was set on Jan. 17, 2018, when demand reached 65,915 MW between 7 and 8 a.m.
Nearly 83,000 MW of resource capacity is expected to be available for the winter peak, including 963 MW of planned winter-rated resource capacity consisting of wind and utility-scale solar projects.
With these planned resources expected to be commercially operable by winter, ERCOT is on track to add the largest amount of new installed wind capacity in any given year (more than 5,000 MW), and utility-scale solar would more than double since the end of last year. Click here to view ERCOT’s resource capacity trend charts.
The winter SARA includes a unit outage forecast of 8,616 MW during the winter months, which is based on historical winter outage data compiled since 2017.
ERCOT also expects to have sufficient generation available to meet system-wide demand in spring 2021. Based on expected spring peak weather conditions, the preliminary spring SARA report anticipates a seasonal peak demand of 64,548 MW.
This is this first spring assessment that includes a low wind output scenario, and even under this particular scenario, ERCOT anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet the forecasted demand.
Based on ERCOT’s preliminary assessment, an additional 4,262 MW of planned spring-rated resource capacity comprised of gas-fired units, wind and utility-scale solar is expected to be available to meet the spring peak demand.
The final spring SARA report will be released in early March 2021, along with the preliminary summer SARA.
Background on the SARA
The SARA report is based on an assessment of expected future seasonal generation availability and peak demand conditions at the time it was prepared. The assessment takes into account generation outages that typically occur during each season, as well as scenarios that account for extreme generation outages, low wind output and extreme weather conditions that affect seasonal peak 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.