Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

May 29, 2009

ERCOT Expects Adequate Power Supply for Summer

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of the state, expects adequate electricity resources to meet this summer’s peak use in the ERCOT region, according to the annual summer assessment released today. 

The summer peak demand forecast of 63,491 megawatts (MW) is 1,731 MW lower than the last forecast in December 2008, reflecting the current slowdown in economic conditions.  It is 2 percent higher than the 2008 actual peak demand of 62,174 MW due to cooler than normal weather last summer.  ERCOT’s all-time record use of electricity of 62,339 MW occurred in August 2006.   

Available resources for the 2009 summer peak total 72,712 MW, leaving a 17 percent reserve margin, up from 16 percent in the 2008 forecast – well above the 12.5 percent target minimum.  Reserve margins are forecast to be above the target minimum through 2014. 

“We have lowered the peak demand forecast because of the current economic downturn,” said ERCOT CEO Bob Kahn.  “However, our forecasts anticipate a recovery in the economy over the next five years as reflected in an increase in the average annual growth rate from 1 percent in the near term to as high as 3 percent around 2012 and 2013,” he said.   

“It’s good to be able to say that we are now looking at healthy reserve margins through 2014,” Kahn said, “as well as a number of generation projects committed and proposed for further down the road.”  

Generation changes in this year’s summer assessment compared to December 2008 included:

  • A net increase of 1,140 MW in installed capacity;
  • An increase of 20 MW of wind generation, calculated at 8.7 percent of installed capacity;
  • The retention of 115 MW, that was planned for retirement, under a temporary reliability-must-run agreement;
  • A decrease of 967 MW from private networks.  

Installed capacity by fuel type is 65 percent natural gas, 16 percent coal, 6 percent nuclear, 10 percent wind and 3 percent water/biomass/solar/other. 

ERCOT continues to lead the nation with the most installed wind generation capacity at 8,135 MW, according to the summer assessment.  For summer peak capacity, ERCOT counts 8.7 percent of wind nameplate capacity as dependable capacity at peak in accordance with ERCOT’s stakeholder-adopted methodology.  

For the second year, the summer assessment included demand supplanted by energy efficiency conservation efforts as reported to the Public Utility Commission by ERCOT member utilities, in compliance with Legislative House Bill 3693 (2007).  Texas state law mandates that at least 20 percent of all investor-owned-utility growth in electricity demand be met through energy efficiency programs each year.  The 2009 estimated load decrease not already accounted for in the load forecast is 110 MW and 242 MW for 2010-2014.  

ERCOT’s assessment also includes 1,115 MW of load resources which are dispatchable, contractually committed demand response resources. 

The report also shows potential resources in the final phase of the interconnection process but lacking either an air permit or interconnection agreement (and therefore not counted in the reserve calculation), ranging from 7,858 MW in 2010 to 25,463 MW in 2014.   

The ERCOT peak use forecast is based on an average weather profile and economic factors including per capita income, population, gross domestic project and various employment measures.   

One megawatt is roughly enough electricity to power 500 average homes under normal conditions in Texas, or about 200 homes during hot weather when air conditioners are running for longer periods of time. 

The ERCOT region includes 22 million Texas customers – representing 85 percent of the state''s electric load and 75 percent of the Texas land area. It does not include the El Paso area, the Texas Panhandle, Northeast Texas, and Southeast Texas. 

ERCOT Region Summer Assessment

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Summer Peak Forecast (MW)

63,491

64,056

65,494

67,394

69,399

70,837

Firm Load Forecast (MW)

Includes demand response reductions

62,266

62,699

64,137

66,037

68,042

69,480

Total Resources (MW)

73,029

75,472

76,215

77,287

79,122

79,122

Reserve Margin; 12.5% minimum required (%)

16.8

20.1

18.8

 17.0

16.3

13.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2008 reserve margin (%)

15.8

21.2

18.7

17.8

17.9

15.8

May 2008 reserve margin (%)

16.5

17.3

15.0

14.5

12.3

n/a

 

Online: 

2009 ERCOT Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report

*UPDATE: A revised CDR was posted June 5, 2009 to reflect corrections for fuel type and county-specific information.

2009 ERCOT Long-Term Peak Demand and Energy Forecast

ERCOT Region Map  

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