BLOG: ERCOT Report Predicts Tight but Manageable Summer

ERCOT technicians and market participants already have begun taking steps to ensure the grid continues functioning reliably.

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Another broken record for electricity use — that’s what the organization that manages the state’s primary power grid predicts for this summer.

In a report it issued March 5, ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, outlined potentially tight grid conditions during the upcoming hot months and possible emergency alerts.  Those findings ERCOT included in its preliminary “Seasonal Assessment for Resource Adequacy” report for summer 2020, which it issued simultaneously with its final report for spring 2020 grid conditions.

But ERCOT CEO Bill Magness predicted any challenges this summer won’t be far different from those the grid encountered during the summer of 2019, which the organization handled without major difficulty. “ERCOT has added new electric supply resources, and strong economic growth continues to push up demand in ERCOT,” he said.

In a recent press release ERCOT also said that combined factors such as energy demand, wind output and out-of-service generation units ultimately would determine whether the organization calls emergency alerts this summer. The release stated that ERCOT technicians and market participants already have begun taking steps to ensure the grid continues functioning reliably.

By calling an energy emergency alerts, ERCOT signals that shortage conditions have prompted it to take advantage of additional standby resources. The ERCOT wholesale market also includes various mechanisms to increase prices when needed to encourage generators to become available and to encourage customers to ramp down energy use. ERCOT called two emergency alerts during the summer of 2019.

ERCOT predicts total resource capacity for the upcoming summer season at 82,417 megawatts and peak load at 76,696 MW, according to its preliminary summer SARA report, which covers June through September.  The report bases its projections on normal summer-peak weather conditions from 2004 through 2018.

The final spring SARA report, which covers March through May, anticipates sufficient generation to meet system-wide demand under a range of extreme system conditions. The spring SARA includes a 64,233-MW spring peak load forecast.

 

— R.A. Dyer