Only under extreme conditions would Texas potentially face power shortages this winter, according to new projections by the organization that manages the state’s power grid.

That organization, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also projects healthy generation reserves this fall.

“We are going into fall with about 2,100 MW of new generation resources in the system that we didn’t have this time last year, and we expect that there will be sufficient generation available to serve a range of possible scenarios,” said Ken McIntyre, ERCOT’s vice president for operations.

ERCOT’s seasonal projections were included in twin technical reports issued on Tuesday.  The reports come as good news for consumers because healthy reserves reduce the likelihood of blackouts and tend to discourage expensive price spikes in the wholesale energy market.

For its fall report ERCOT assumed average weather patterns, and included in its planning scenarios combinations of extremely high demand and forced power plant outages.  The organization determined that Texas should enjoy anywhere from 2,600 megawatts to 14,000 megawatts of generation reserves during the fall.

“With more than 75,500 megawatts (MW) of generation available overall, ERCOT expects to be well-prepared for the anticipated peak demand of about 48,700 MW this fall,” ERCOT reported in a prepared release.

To put those numbers in perspective, one megawatt is enough electricity to serve about 200 homes during a period of extremely high electric usage.

The winter report was only slightly less rosy: ERCOT found that Texas should have enough power under all but extreme winter scenarios.

“Generation providers in the ERCOT region have continued to improve their weatherization practices, and we continue to evaluate possible impacts associated with fuel supply restrictions to generators, drought conditions and environmental regulatory changes,” said McIntyre.

However, the winter report is preliminary, and a final report for the season won’t be released until Oct. 31.

An ERCOT press release summarizing both fall and winter reports can be found here.

— R.A. Dyer