News Release

March 20, 2008

ERCOT NEWS - March 20, 2008

TOPICS:

Board of Directors Meeting Highlights

The Board of Directors reviewed updates on the Feb. 26 grid event and the nodal market implementation at Tuesday’s monthly meeting, in addition to approving several protocol revisions and endorsing a transmission upgrade project. 

NODAL MARKET UPDATE

The nodal market redesign remains on schedule for the Dec. 1, 2008 launch.  The last major software drop is scheduled for April 22.  The top risk at this time is the challenge of integrating the multiple systems into the common information model.  The overall-readiness tests are scheduled for September.   

FEBRUARY GRID EVENT REPORT

Vice President of System Operations Kent Saathoff presented a report on the Feb. 26, 2008 grid event. (See press release and operations report.)  The key observations were:

  • Operators had no prior indication of the approaching capacity deficiency when they could have arranged for more generation to be brought on line.
  • ERCOT’s look-ahead tools depend on the resource plans from the energy schedulers to determine how much generation will be available in future periods.
  • Resource plans indicated about 1,000 megawatts (MW) of available wind capacity during the period that was not available at that time.
  • An independent wind generation forecast that is scheduled for the nodal market (December 2008) is not integrated into the current zonal operating system.
  • Some non-wind energy schedulers were not generating according to their resource plans. 

ERCOT staff is determining how the wind forecast from nodal can be integrated into the current planning system. 

The board asked for a staff update on the follow-up actions at the May meeting, to coincide with Technical Advisory Committee’s report. 

TYLER TRANSMISSION PROJECT

The board also voted to endorse the Tyler auto-transformer addition and 138 kV-line upgrade project.  ERCOT staff performed an independent study of the recommended upgrades by Luminant and Oncor and found that the project is required to serve the Tyler area, based on reliability and economic justifications.  Estimated cost for the project is $11.1 million.  If approved by the Public Utility Commission, the cost will be recovered through the regulated transmission provider rates. 

PROTOCOL REVISIONS

In other board action, the directors approved the following Protocol Revision Request (PRR), Nodal Protocol Revision Requests (NPRR), and Retail Market Guide Revision Request (RMGRR):

  • PRR740: Creating Amendment to Standard Form Market Participant Agreement
  • NPRR081: Automatic Voltage Regulator Status
  • NPRR089: Changing Posting Requirement of Certain Documents From Market Information Systems Secure to Public Area
  • NPRR094: Correct Reference to CRR Credit Limit
  • NPRR095: Clarify Recipients of McCamey Flowgate Rights
  • NPRR096: Revisions to the Reliability-Must-Run Startup Energy Payment
  • NPRR098: Protocol Sections 4 and 6 Formula Clarifications and Related Revisions
  • RMGRR059: Inadvertent Gain Task Force Revision.

STAFF REPORTS

ERCOT staff report highlights include:

Market Operations Report:

  • Customer retention continues to be a major retail provider activity; switch volume continues to be much lower than the prior year; competing retail providers continue to penetrate traditional incumbent utility markets
  • Volatility in the West Hub continues as expected – increased concentration of wind combined with transmission constraints produces expected swings in clearing prices
  • Three new qualified scheduling entities and one new retail electric provider were added in February

Grid Operations Report:

  • January 2008 operations summary of peak demands (actual vs. forecast), load forecast performance, zonal congestion and significant system events

Information Technology Report (February performance metrics):

  • Net service availability – 99.9 percent
  • Retail transaction processing – 99.67 percent
  • Texas Market Link availability – 100 percent
  • MarkeTrak availability – 99.87 percent

System Planning Report:

  • ERCOT is tracking 233 active generation requests, totaling over 103,000 MW (including almost 46,000 MW of wind generation)
  • New interconnection agreements signed in February included Sherbino Mesa Wind Farm, 300 MW, in Pecos County; and Coyote Run Wind Farm, 184 MW, in Borden County
  • Regional Planning Group is currently reviewing proposed transmission improvements totaling $180 million
  • Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) Transmission Optimization study update – to be filed with the Public Utility Commission by April 2
  • Wind Ancillary Services Study update. 

Board meeting documents are posted on www.ercot.com  with the March 18 meeting agenda.  

ISO/RTO Council to Convene Demand Response Conference

The ISO/RTO Council (IRC) has scheduled a technical conference on demand response in the wholesale electricity markets for April 21 in Arlington, VA. The purpose of the one-day conference is to solicit industry input on two initiatives to advance the participation of demand response in wholesale electricity markets.  FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff will give the keynote address to open the conference.  For more information and registration links, see the IRC news release.  

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 650+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas.

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.

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