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ERCOT Has Enough Fall, Winter Power; NatGas-Fired Units Recently Added

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said Thursday that it expects to have enough power generating capacity available to meet fall and winter demand.

ERCOT released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) October-November and the preliminary outlook for December-February.

"We study multiple scenarios, including extreme cases of very cold conditions and outages of significant amounts of generation capacity," said Warren Lasher, ERCOT director of system planning. "Based on the current forecast, we expect to have sufficient generation to carry us through high-demand periods during the upcoming seasons."

The fall SARA report includes more than 82,000 MW of generation capacity and a peak demand forecast of about 54,400 MW, which is unchanged from the forecast released with the preliminary fall SARA last May.

Since the release of the preliminary fall SARA, four gas-fired combustion turbine units (623 MW fall seasonal capacity rating) and three wind projects (703 MW nameplate, 273 MW fall capacity contribution) have moved from planned to operational status.

Three of the gas units are switchable generation resources that can connect to either the ERCOT or Southwest Power Pool grids. In addition, an 83 MW mothballed gas-fired resource became operational in July. Capacity excluded from the final fall SARA report includes a planned gas combustion turbine project that has been delayed beyond Oct. 1, 2016.

This final fall SARA report includes a unit outage forecast of 13,672 MW developed from historical fall season outage data gathered since the start of the Texas Nodal Market in December 2010.

"While fall 2015 was the seventh warmest on record for Texas, we're expecting this fall to reflect near-normal temperatures across most of ERCOT, with rainfall in the near-normal to above-normal ranges," said ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman. "Combined, 2015 and 2016 are on track to be the wettest two consecutive years in Texas weather history."

The preliminary SARA report for winter also reflects sufficient generating capacity through high-demand periods. The forecasted peak demand is just under 59,000 MW, exceeding the current all-time winter demand record of 57,265 MW set on Feb. 10, 2011.

About 1,200 MW of new winter-rated capacity is expected to be in service at the start of the winter season. The final winter SARA report is to be released in November.

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