Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

November 19, 2009

ERCOT NEWS: November Board Meeting Highlights


Board Approves Protocol Revisions, Reserve Service Changes

The Board of Directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, grid operator and manager of the electric market for most of the state, approved a contested protocol revision at Tuesday’s monthly meeting that increases the flexibility with which wind generators can satisfy their voltage support obligations; offers a new compliance deadline of Dec. 31, 2010; and affirms ERCOT’s understanding of the voltage support assumptions that should be used in ongoing renewable energy zones studies.  

After three hours of presentations and discussions, the board approved Protocol Revision Request - PRR 830: Reactive Power Capability Requirement, rejecting NextEra Energy Resources’ appeal, filed after the Technical Advisory Committee’s vote of approval on Nov. 5.   

The TAC presentation and other market participants’ presentations and are posted on line:

The board also approved:

  • PRR 836: Revised Minimum Ramp Rate for Balancing Energy Service Down to Comport with PRR 803 – Changes the divisor for the minimum ramp rate required for a balancing energy service down bid from 40 to 56 to reflect the change resulting from the implementation of PRR 803
  • Load Profiling Guide Revision Request 035 -- Adds time-of-use schedules to load profiles with Interval Data Recorder meter data type codes for advanced meters. 

In its annual review of the ancillary services methodology, the board approved the following changes for 2010:

  • Procure Non-Spinning Reserve Service to cover net-load forecast uncertainty (load and wind generation) instead of with unit commitment
  • Purchase a minimum Non-Spinning Reserve Service amount equal to the largest unit in ERCOT for hours 7 – 22.
  • Establish a cap of 2,000 megawatts (MW) on Non-Spinning Reserve Services for each hour. 

The board also voted to endorse the American Electric Power Services project for transmission improvements in the Corpus Christi area, which goes to the Public Utility Commission for final approval. 

The project is estimated to cost $101.2 million and includes:

  • Build new Gila substation:
    • Relocate Koch Upriver – Nueces Bay 138 kV line into Gila
    • Relocate Highway 9 – Nueces Bay 138 kV double-circuit into Gila
    • Relocate Whitepoint – Nueces Bay 138 kV line #2 into Gila
  • Rebuild/ reconductor Valero East – Highway 9 69 kV line
  • Reconductor Lon Hill – Hearn Road 69 kV line
  • Build 138 kV line Barney Davis – Laguna and install new 138/69 kV autotransformer at Laguna
  • Rebuild Barney Davis – Alazan – Nelson Sharpe 138 kV line
  • Upgrade Westside – Cabaniss 138 kV line terminal equipment
  • Upgrade both Lon Hill 138/69 kV autotransformers. 

Other votes during the board meeting included approval of:

CEO Briefs Board on Wind Record, NERC Audit

Interim CEO Trip Doggett highlighted several recent ERCOT accomplishments in his CEO update.   

Grid operations recorded a new all-time high for instantaneous wind generation of 6,223 MW on Oct. 28, recorded at 8:19 p.m., when the total load was 35,713 MW.   

At 3 a.m. on the same day, ERCOT was serving 25 percent of the total load with wind – load was 22,893 MW, and wind was at 5,667 MW.   

ERCOT’s installed wind capacity is 8,916 MW, as of Oct.31. 

He also reported that ERCOT received an unqualified opinion (for the third consecutive year) on the SAS 70 audit and a “very successful” audit from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, based on NERC’s preliminary report.  He noted that NERC highlighted ERCOT’s “culture of compliance.” Doggett said some pieces of the audit related to transmission operator functions were delayed, and work on that portion is ongoing.

Nodal Completes First Operational Day Test

In his CEO update, Doggett listed several successes in the nodal market implementation:

  • Successful completion of the first operational day test (end-to-end) on schedule
  • Successful start of the market connectivity trials on time. 

Bob Helton, chair of the Special Nodal Program Committee, noted that 378 days remain before the nodal market go-live date.   

Chief Technology Officer Mike Cleary reported that the team is focused on end-to-end testing and working to increase the quality and quantity of the data. [More information available in the Nodal Program Update and on the Texas Nodal Market Implementation website] 

Voltage Ride-through Study, Resource Adequacy Updates Presented

System Planning Director Dan Woodfin updated the board on the voltage ride-through study in progress and resource adequacy activities.   

The voltage ride-through study is to be completed by June 2010, Woodfin said in his update.  Parsons Brinckerhoff World is performing the study in three phases.  Phase 1 and Phase 2 are to be completed by the end of 2009. 

Highlights of the presentation on Resource Adequacy and Market Signals: ERCOT Activities included:

  • ERCOT has only indirect influence over resource adequacy
  • Reliability actions taken in current operations impact price signals
  • Communication of periodic assessments of resource adequacy inform the market and policymakers of perceived needs 
  • Studies that indicate future requirements provide information to market and policymakers on resource needs and characteristics
  • The Public Utility Commission is considering resource adequacy-related topics in Project 37339: Commission Review of Market and Operating Issues Related to Wind Generating Capacity in ERCOT.
  • Reserve margin target and calculation
  • ERCOT will be updating the 2007 loss-of-load probability study before next summer’s capacity, demand and reserves report; Results used to “reflect” resources’ impact on reliability into reserve margin calculation, such as the 8.7 percent effective load carrying capability for wind
  • The Generation Adequacy Task Force is in the process of updating assumptions that go into the reserve margin calculation.

Markets, Grid, Financial, IT Staff Reports Presented

Regular monthly staff reports included: 

Market Operations Report

Retail Activity Highlights:

  • Continued strong retail activity in 2009 compared to 2008
  • Migration from native retail electric providers is healthy in all customer classes
  • Advanced Metering Project Update -- due to testing environment issues, the schedule was revised to launch the project in two phases: Nov. 21 phase will deliver all data loading and settlement functionality, Dec. 13 phase will deliver remaining web services. 

Wholesale Activity Highlights:

  • Energy Services – Total market volumes in energy services were higher in September 2009 compared to 2008.  Natural gas prices remain very low.
  • Capacity Services – Prices for capacity services are significantly lower in 2009 compared to 2008 while volumes procured by ERCOT remain relatively stable.
  • Summary Balancing Energy Price Data – Prices continue to be significantly lower in 2009 compared to 2008.
  • Congestion Management – Significantly more out-of-merit energy to resolve local congestion in 2009 compared to 2008 – primarily due to increased installed wind capacity and outages taken to maintain and improve the transmission system.
  • One new retail electric provider added -- 10K Energy, LLC
  • Four new energy schedulers added -- 10K Energy, LLC; Eagle Industrial; Energy Curtailment Specialist, Inc.; and FM Energy Scheduling, LLC   

Grid Operations and Planning Report

Grid Operations Highlights:

  • September peak demand of 55,210 MW occurred on Sept. 3
  • October 2009 peak demand was 49,100 MW set on Oct. 8

System Planning Highlights:

  • ERCOT is currently tracking 222 active generation interconnection requests totaling more than 77,000 MW, including approximately 44,000 MW of wind generation.
  • Regional planning is currently reviewing proposed transmission improvements with a total of $1,031.7 million
  • Transmission projects approved in 2009 total $284.4 million
  • All projects (in engineering, routing, licensing and construction) total approximately $9.2 billion
  • Transmission Projects energized in 2009 total about $416 million

Information Technology Service Availability Metrics Report

Retail and Wholesale Systems Performance for October

  • Retail Transaction Processing – 100 percent
  • Texas Market Link (TML) – 100 percent
  • MarkeTrak – 100 percent
  • TML Report Explorer – 99.84 percent; above the service level target of 99 percent
  • Retail API – 100 percent
  • Wholesale Total – 100 percent

Several board members expressed appreciation for the improvements in performance metrics, including one who noted it was the first time in two years that all retail categories were at 100 percent. 

Financial Summary Report

Year-to-date favorable variance of $2.6 million 

All board meeting documents are available at this link. 

Monthly Demand and Energy Report Available Online

Energy consumed in the ERCOT region through October 2009 totals 261,865 gigawatt -- a 1.8 percent decrease over the same time last year, and a 1.7 percent decrease over the year-to-date forecast, according to the monthly demand and energy report.   

The report also includes a breakdown of total energy consumed by fuel type:  

ENERGY FUEL MIX – Year-to-Date 


Fuel Type

Jan-Oct 2009

Jan-Oct 2008

Jan-Oct 2007




Natural Gas
























ERCOT 2008 Demand and Energy Report

ERCOT 2007 Demand and Energy Report

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.