News Release

December 18, 2009

ERCOT Forecast Update Shows Adequate Reserves to 2013

More than 3,000 MW new generation online since May

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of the state, reported more than 3,000 megawatts (MW) have been added to the region’s operational generation since May, according to the capacity, demand and reserves December update released today.

Of the 3,140 MW of additional installed capacity, 1,689 MW is from new coal plants and 1,093 from natural gas plants. 

Based on currently available information, the region’s reserve margins are forecast to remain above the 12.5 percent target minimum through 2013, but drop below the desired reserves beginning in 2014.  Reserve margins reflect a snapshot of existing and currently-planned generation resources in excess of forecasted peak demand needed to ensure reliability for extreme temperatures and unexpected major outages.   

The net changes in the five-year generation outlook since the May report show an increase in total resources for 2010, 2011 and 2012 of 1,049 MW, 681 MW and 708 MW, respectively.   

In 2014 and 2015, there is a net decrease of 1,105 MW in generation, primarily due to the exclusion of the Cobisa Greenville Project, a 1,792 MW natural gas-fired power plant which had been scheduled for completion in 2013.  Although the project has an air permit and transmission interconnection agreement, the project developers notified ERCOT in early December that their current expectations were such that the unit should not be included in the reserve margin calculation at this time. 

“Reserve margins are calculated based on specific criteria for the inclusion of existing and planned resources and is based on information available to ERCOT at a snapshot in time,” said Dan Woodfin, director of system planning for ERCOT.  “In the region’s deregulated market, it is the generation owner who bears the risk of investment and decides when and where to build new generation, and whether to retire or mothball existing generation, based on market conditions.”    

Potential resources that are not included in the report’s generation total include more than 3,000 MW of generation capacity which is currently mothballed but could be brought back into service at the owners’ decision.  Other potential resources include proposed units that have requested a full transmission interconnection study but lack either an air permit or signed interconnection agreement.  The planned units under review total 2,751 MW with a 2010 in-service date, 8,704 MW for 2011 completion, and more than 20,000 MW by 2015.  

NEW GENERATION INSTALLED

Major generation units that began commercial operations since the May report are:

Site Name

MW

Fuel

County, Zone

Barney Davis 2

344

Natural gas

Nueces (South Zone)

Dansby Unit 3

48

Natural gas

Brazos (North Zone)

JK Spruce 2

772

Coal

Bexar (South Zone)

Nueces Bay

701

Natural gas

Nueces (South Zone)

Oak Grove 1

917

Coal

Robertson (North Zone)

Pearsall

100

Natural gas

Frio (South Zone)

 

RESERVE MARGINS* 2010-2015 

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

May 2007

8.3

6.7

5.9

n/a

n/a

n/a

Dec 2007

14.0

11.2

10.5

8.2

n/a

n/a

May 2008

17.3

15.0

14.5

12.3

n/a

n/a

Dec 2008

21.2

18.7

17.8

17.9

15.8

n/a

May 2009

20.1

18.8

17.0

16.3

13.9

n/a

Dec 2009

21.8

19.9

18.1

14.7

12.3

10.2

 

*Reserve margins represent generation reserves in excess of forecasted peak demand needed to ensure reliability for extreme temperatures and unexpected major outages.  The minimum reserve margin target of 12.5 percent was approved by the ERCOT Board of Directors in 2002. 

Online:

ERCOT 2009 Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report – Winter Update (PDF)

ERCOT 2009 Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report – Winter Update (Excel)

ERCOT 2009 Capacity, Demand, and Reserves Report - May 

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.

Contact

media@ercot.com

512-275-7432