The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the electric grid serving most of the state, expects to have sufficient installed generating capacity, including from natural gas, to serve forecasted peak demand this winter and into next spring. PJM Interconnection also said it is prepared to meet winter demands across its 13 member states and the District of Columbia.
“We’re confident that PJM will be able to serve customer demand reliably this winter,” said operations chief Michael E. Bryson. “Our diverse resource portfolio, healthy reserves and strong-and-improving generator performance are assets in operating an efficient system, and we collaborate with our generation and transmission owners to prepare for the most extreme cold weather scenarios.”
PJM is forecasting peak demand at around 134,000 MW this winter. It has more than 187,000 MW of resources, including natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar and other resources. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,434 MW, which was set on Feb. 20, 2015.*
Last winter, PJM reliably served a peak of nearly 139,000 MW on Jan. 31, 2019. Overall reliability was boosted by better generator performance, as outage rates plunged significantly from the 2013–2014 polar vortex, PJM noted.
ERCOT on Thursday also issued In final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the winter season covering December through February, as well as a preliminary assessment for the spring, from March through May.
“We studied a range of potential risks and believe there will be sufficient operating reserves to meet the forecasted peak demand,” said ERCOT’s Pete Warnken, manager of Resource Adequacy.
The winter SARA includes a 62,257 MW winter peak demand forecast, based on normal weather conditions during peak periods, from 2003 through 2017. ERCOT’s all-time winter peak demand record was set on Jan. 17, 2018, when demand reached 65,915 MW between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
More than 82,000 MW of resource capacity is expected to be available for peak demand this winter, including 136 MW of winter-rated resource capacity, both natural gas-fired and wind, which has become commercially operable since the preliminary winter SARA report was issued.
An additional 768 MW of planned winter-rated resource capacity is also expected to be available this winter, including new gas-fired generation, as well as wind and utility-scale solar projects.
The winter SARA includes a unit outage forecast of 7,163 MW for the winter months, which is based on historical winter outage data compiled since 2016.
ERCOT also expects to have sufficient generation available to meet system-wide demand next spring. Based on expected spring peak weather conditions, the preliminary SARA report for spring 2020 anticipates a seasonal peak demand of 64,233 MW.
Based on the preliminary ERCOT assessment, an additional 2,903 MW of planned resource capacity comprised of gas-fired units, wind and utility-scale solar is expected to be available to meet the spring peak demand. The final spring SARA report for 2020 is scheduled to be released in early March.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2019-2020 Winter Energy Market Assessment, the upcoming winter should be a relatively stable one for United States energy markets, with forecasters expecting a warmer-than-average season and natural gas storage levels at or above average levels, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center also expects warmer-than-average temperatures to dominate most of the United States this winter.
*PJM has corrected the all-time peak load figure as it said it did not account for the coincident load from Ohio Valley Electric Corp., which is now part of PJM.