Good news from the operator of state’s primary electric grid: Texas should have enough generation capacity to keep the lights on this summer and fall, even during periods of peak use.
Texas also should have sufficient power reserves over the next five years.
These findings and more were included in three reports released this week by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is the quasi-governmental organization that manages the flow of power to about 90 percent of the state.
The first report, ERCOT’s Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, forecasts peak demand by Texas electric users this summer at nearly 73,000 megawatts. But ERCOT also estimates there will be even more generation available during the summer, close to 82,000 MW.
Warren Lasher, ERCOT’s senior director of System Planning, noted that a new summer peak demand record was set in 2016 and there may be another record set this summer.
But, nonetheless, “we do not anticipate any generation resource adequacy issues during the coming months — although we could see a need for conservation in the case of extended extreme temperatures or very low wind generation output during peak conditions,” he said.
The estimate of anticipated available generation capacity this summer includes nearly 2,500 MW of planned natural gas-fired generation and about 800 MW of new wind and grid-scale solar power. One megawatt is roughly equivalent to what’s needed to serve about 200 homes on a hot summer day.
Separately, ERCOT’s Preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for Fall 2017 included estimates of 87,000 MW of power available for peak periods for the October-November season, but estimated needs under most scenarios this fall at no more than 56,000 MW.
And finally, ERCOT’s Capacity, Demand and Reserves report shows planning reserve margins at well above 16 percent for the next five years and exceeding 18 percent for four of those years.
The next CDR update is expected in December. ERCOT says it likely will include new demand projections associated with industrial plants along the Gulf Coast and relating to oil and gas exploration in the Permian Basin region. ERCOT also reports that it continues its study of the potential impact of adding Lubbock Power & Light to its system, which is under consideration by the Public Utility Commission.