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ERCOT Foresees Adequate Power For Spring, Summer

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) should have enough generating capacity to meet expected power demand this spring and summer, the grid operator said Wednesday.

In the final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for spring (March-May) and apreliminary outlook for summer (June-September), ERCOT said it anticipates that there will be sufficient generation to meet projected peak demand during the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

“In preparing our seasonal forecasts, we studied multiple scenarios to test the ERCOT system,” said Senior Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. “Under the most extreme scenarios considered, there were adequate generation reserves to maintain reliability.”

The spring report identifies more than 82,000 MW of generation resources available to serve the expected peak demand of 58,000 MW. The demand forecast is based on average weather conditions during ERCOT’s spring peak from 2002 through 2015. This year’s spring peak is most likely to occur in late May, following the completion of most seasonal power plant maintenance outages that occur in preparation for summer demand, ERCOT said.

Since the release of the preliminary spring SARA report, nearly 1,500 MW of new natural gas-fired, wind and solar generation has become operational in the ERCOT system.

“We are expecting warmer-than-normal temperatures to continue in the ERCOT region this spring,” said ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman. “The rain forecast will be normal to above-normal for most of Texas, and drought is not expected to be a concern for the vast majority of the ERCOT region through the spring season.”

The preliminary summer SARA report shows a peak load forecast of nearly 73,000 MW based on normal summer weather conditions during ERCOT’s peak demand periods. Thisis 2.6% higher than ERCOT’s all-time peak demand record of 71,110 MW, which was set Aug. 11, 2016. Another 4,000 MW of new gas-fired, wind and solar generation is expected to be available at the start of the summer season, ERCOT said

With wind playing a larger role in ERCOT’s generation resource mix, the summer report reflects a scenario that combines the forecasted peak load with extremely low wind output. The low wind output level in this scenario represents only 3.8% of the total installed wind capacity, compared to a historical average contribution of 19.4% of installed capacity during summer peak load hours, the grid operator said.

The final summer SARA report is to be released in early May.

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