Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

September 10, 2009

ERCOT Requests Stimulus Funds to Expand Long-range Grid Planning, Analysis

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, grid operator and manager of the electric market for most of the state, applied today for federal stimulus funds to expand the long-range system planning and analysis for the Texas grid. 

The proposal, filed in response to Topic A and B of the Department of Energy request for “Interconnection-Level Analysis and Planning for the Texas Interconnection,” would provide additional personnel and consulting services to supplement existing ERCOT resources.  

“This grant will allow us to develop an efficient, long-term transmission framework for the Texas interconnection that is cost-effective and reliable,” ERCOT CEO Bob Kahn said, “and that facilitates the development of low cost, environmentally friendly resources by ERCOT market participants to meet the long-term needs of Texas consumers.”   

The project will expand ERCOT’s existing long-range system assessment process to include:

  1. Development and analysis of diverse generation and transmission scenarios based on the uncertainties that influence resource development and locations;
  2. Evaluation of strategies for transmission planning in the deregulated ERCOT market;
  3. Development and investigation of the impact of low-carbon resources on transmission requirements; and
  4. Assessment of the future operational impacts of new resources, such as demand response and wind and solar energy.  

The proposal also includes funding to coordinate discussions regarding long-range electric system planning among the state’s regulatory and planning officials to ensure that the analysis meets the needs of state regulatory officials, elected officials, and other ERCOT policymakers and stakeholders. 

“A successful electric market and reliable, efficient grid are critical to the state’s economic growth and vitality,” Kahn said.  “We must continue to be innovative in our approach to the complex issues that arise from incorporating new energy resources into the grid and ensuring efficient management of our state’s resources.” 

The work will be divided into two phases, the first to be completed by June 30, 2011, and the second, by June 30, 2013. 

ERCOT is the independent system operator for the Texas interconnection, one of three separate electric grids, or interconnections, in North America.  The ERCOT grid represents approximately 75 percent of the land area in Texas; it does not include the El Paso region, the northern panhandle, a small area around Texarkana and a small portion of the region around Beaumont.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 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 710+ 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.