ERCOT Releases Preliminary Winter Assessment and Preliminary Spring Assessment


By R.A. Dyer

Thumbs up. That the sign from ERCOT, which reported on Thursday that Texas generators should keep up with electricity demand during the winter and spring of 2019.

ERCOT, also known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is the organization that oversees the state’s primary power grid. It periodically releases reports (known as resource adequacy assessments) that outline expected generation and supply challenges for future months.

On Thursday ERCOT released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report for the upcoming winter season. This “SARA” report covers the period beginning in December and ending in February, 2019. ERCOT also released its preliminary assessment for the spring season, which covers March through May of 2019.

“Prior to each season, the grid operator considers a range of potential risks to determine whether there will be sufficient capacity to meet the expected peak load forecast,” said Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken, in a prepared statement. “Based on our assessment for the upcoming winter season, we do not anticipate any capacity shortages, even in extreme conditions.”

The winter SARA projects that electricity use will peak at 61,780 megawatts during that season. ERCOT notes that the new projection remains unchanged from a preliminary winter forecast released last September.

But ERCOT also reports that nearly 80,000 MW of power will be on hand during the winter to meet that peak demand. For perspective, a megawatt roughly approximates that amount of power needed for 200 homes during a period of high-usage. (A gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts).

ERCOT notes that since the release of the preliminary winter SARA, two wind farms have become operational. These have winter capacity ratings totaling approximately 72 MW. Other planned resources expected to be in service will contribute an additional 253 MW, according to ERCOT.

Separately, ERCOT expects sufficient generation to meet system-wide demand during the spring of 2019. The preliminary SARA report for the March through May period projects seasonal peak demand at 61,566 MW, and total resources of 81,828 MW.

— R.A. Dyer