News Release

    June 21, 2010

    ERCOT Completes 8-hour Test with Nodal Real-time Systems

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, grid operator and manager of the electric market for most of the state, successfully completed an eight-hour load-frequency control test of the nodal market real-time systems last week. 

    During the test, ERCOT managed the power grid using the nodal systems that will be in place when the nodal market is launched Dec. 1.   

    The nodal team began taking control of the grid at 10 am and returned control of the grid to the zonal operators at 5:50 pm on Thursday, June 17.  Seventy-nine energy schedulers – representing 99.9 percent of the system generation – participated in the test. 

    “The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that we can effectively operate the power grid with the nodal applications.  We found minor application issues as expected, but overall, we believe the test was successful,” said Chief Operating Officer Mike Cleary.  “This is another step toward ERCOT’s nodal market go-live date of Dec. 1.” 

    Robert Helton, vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for International Power and chair of the ERCOT board’s Special Nodal Program Committee, added, “This is a major accomplishment for the ERCOT team and a testament to the continuing achievements leading the way to successful implementation of the nodal market.”  

    Market trials for the nodal wholesale market have been running for 19 weeks, and no issues are affecting the December launch date at this time, Cleary said. 

    The next key milestone for the market trials will be in September when the nodal team and market participants begin the 168-hour tests. 

    ERCOT 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 granular pricing and scheduling of energy services.  The nodal market redesign will replace the current four-zone market design with more than 4,000 nodes allowing locational marginal pricing and greater price transparency. 

    The nodal market is expected to achieve lower overall costs through improved price signals and market transparency, improved generation dispatch efficiencies, and more direct assignment of local congestion costs.  Funding for the project is provided by a nodal surcharge ($0.375 per megawatt-hour), which is assessed to generation owners.

    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.