The grid operator for 90% of the Texas power market said Thursday its planning reserve margin for next summer is forecast to be 10.6%, which is 2% higher than the reported margin going into last summer’s peak demand season, as new capacity additions come online from renewable and small, flexible natural gas-fired resources.

“Based on preliminary data from generation owners, new capacity additions from planned projects for summer 2020 total 7,633 MW,” according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). “Based on ERCOT’s current interconnection queue, the majority of new generation projects are renewable and small, flexible gas-fired resources.”

The grid operator reported the forecast in its December Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) Report, which provides planning reserve margins for the next five years.

“ERCOT maintained system reliability through record-setting electric demand and high temperatures this summer,” said CEO Bill Magness. “We anticipate there will continue to be sufficient generation to meet Texas’ growing power needs.”

ERCOT last month said it expected to have enough installed generating capacity to serve forecasted peak demand through this winter and into next spring.

The grid operator’s region, which manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers, is still experiencing “above-normal growth in peak electricity demand” from strong load growth in far West Texas and along the coast, where several industrial facilities are under construction.

“For 2020, the forecasted peak demand is 76,696 MW,” ERCOT said. The current system-wide peak demand record is 74,820 MW, which was set on Aug. 12 from 4-5 p.m.

Resources totaling 1,058 MW of installed capacity have been approved by ERCOT for commercial operations since the previous CDR was issued in May, and a total of 4,654 MW of installed capacity became eligible for inclusion report

Since last May, two gas-fired plants totaling 1,227 MW have been canceled, and eight solar projects with a 1,056 MW capacity contribution have been delayed, ERCOT noted.

The CDR report includes a look forward at all operational and planned resource capacity as reported by resource developers and owners. It provides annual projections of the grid operator’s planning reserve margins for the summer and winter seasons. The planning reserve margin is the difference between the total generation available in the ERCOT system and the forecasted firm peak demand.

The CDR report includes a Generation Resource Scenarios tab that identifies generation units that have informally announced plans to retire. However, until ERCOT receives an official Notice of Suspension of Operation from the owners, the units would continue to be reflected in the CDR. 

ERCOT’s next Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy is scheduled to be issued in March. The mid-year CDR report would be published in May.