News Release

    February 17, 2010

    ERCOT NEWS: February Board Meeting Highlights


    Majority of ERCOT Generation Qualified in Market Connectivity Trials

    More than 97 percent of generation resources have qualified in the nodal market connectivity trials, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) executives said at Tuesday’s monthly board of directors meeting.  

    Interim CEO Trip Doggett reported that market trials for the real-time market and outage scheduler began on Feb. 1, and the day-ahead market trials are on schedule to begin April 1.   Full-functionality integrated market trials are scheduled to start May 3. 

    Fifty-four of 80 congestion revenue rights account holders have qualified in the CRR trials, Chief Technology Officer Mike Cleary reported in the nodal update.  The first monthly congestion revenue rights auction ran on Feb. 17 with 38 market participants participating for a total of 12,208 submissions. 

    ERCOT, grid operator and manager of the electric market for most of the state, was charged by the Public Utility Commission of Texas in 2003 to develop a nodal wholesale market design to improve market and operating efficiencies through more minutely detailed pricing and scheduling of energy services.  The nodal market is scheduled to “go live” on Dec. 1.

    Day-Ahead Market Credit Requirements Framework Approved

    After some discussion, the board approved Nodal Protocol Revision Request (NPRR) 206  regarding credit requirements for the nodal day-ahead market.  The board’s motion included accepting the ERCOT-staff-recommended changes and directing the Technical Advisory Committee to come back to the board in April with recommendations for the variables and processes referenced in the NPRR that will drive specific credit requirements.  The processes will provide guidelines around how ERCOT may ease or tighten credit requirements for entities based on specific criteria. 

    The board approved three additional NPRRs and one System Change Request (SCR):

    • NPRR 199 – Shift Factors by Resource Node
    • NPRR 200 – Market Management System Direct-Current Tie Schedule Data Resource
    • NPRR 201 – Calculation of Transmission and Distribution Losses
    • SCR 755 – Website Enhancements

    NPRR 169 (Clarify the Calculation and Posting of Locational Marginal Prices (LMP) for the Load Zone and LMPs for each Hub), was remanded to the Technical Advisory Committee for review of changes proposed by the ERCOT staff.

    Staff Reports on Wind Challenges, Gas Curtailment Research

    ERCOT system operators successfully managed extremely wide variations in wind generation during a Jan. 28 cold front event, Vice President of System Planning and Operations Kent Saathoff reported.  Several significant changes in wind generation were experienced during the day, but the required grid frequency was maintained within standards, and no emergency operating actions were necessary.   

    An “up ramp” occurred as the northern and western portions of the Sweetwater region – an area of concentrated wind generation resources – came under the influence of the higher wind speeds behind the front.  A “down ramp” commenced as a small region of low pressure and light winds moved along the front and shut off the higher winds speeds.   

    ERCOT is currently working on a wind-ramp forecasting tool, Saathoff said, that may be the first-of-its-kind.   In addition, the nodal market scheduled for launch in December will make it easier to manage these type of wind events, Saathoff said. 

    Saathoff also gave a report on ERCOT sensitivity to gas curtailment to follow up on a request at the January board meeting.  Natural gas generation represents 49,718 megawatts (MW) – 67 percent of the dispatchable generation in ERCOT – and 15,156 MW of that amount has alternate fuel capability.  In a scenario of 25 percent gas curtailment for four days, available capacity would be slightly under the current winter peak load.

    Other staff presentations included:

    All board meeting documents are available online at this link.  Live and archived broadcasts of all board meetings are available at this link.  Agendas and documents for ERCOT stakeholder meetings can be found via the ERCOT calendar.

    Executive Departure Announced

    Nancy Capezzuti resigned her position as vice president and chief administrative officer, effective Feb. 15, to pursue other opportunities, Interim CEO Trip Doggett announced.  In an email to employees, Doggett recognized Capezzuti for her four years of service to ERCOT and commended her for guiding many significant improvements in human resources including more effective recruitment functions and improved employee benefits, educational reimbursement, and recognition awards.  During 2009, she assumed responsibilities for the project management office and facilities and has been working with them on the on-time delivery of the new data centers and new control center in Bastrop, scheduled for a late fall completion.   

    Until a successor is recruited, Human Resources Director Bruno Ierullo will assume responsibilities for human resources.  The facilities group will report to information technology, and the project management function will report to the nodal organization.

    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 600+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 7 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.