The electricity grid operator for nearly all of Texas is forecasting record power use this summer, similar to conditions a year ago.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers, or around 90%, on Thursday issued the final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for March through May; the preliminary estimate was issued in December.

The preliminary SARA for power supplies forecast for this summer, from June through September, also was published.

“ERCOT has added new electric supply resources, and strong economic growth continues to push up demand,” CEO Bill Magness said. “We expect grid operations to be very similar to last summer.”

Based on the spring SARA, the independent system operator anticipates “sufficient generation to meet system-wide demand under a range of extreme system conditions.” Included is a 64,233 MW spring peak load forecast, unchanged from last December’s estimate.

This summer, the preliminary total resource capacity is forecast at 82,417 MW. The preliminary SARA includes a 76,696 MW peak load forecast based on normal summer peak weather conditions from 2004-2018. The final assessment is scheduled to be issued in early May.

The need to declare an energy emergency, as usual, would depend on a combination of factors, including demand, wind output and the number of generators on outage on any given day, the grid operator noted. ERCOT said it is working with market participants to ensure system reliability is maintained during tight conditions. 

“Declaring an energy emergency allows the grid operator to take advantage of additional resources that are only available under these types of conditions,” it said. “Additionally, the ERCOT wholesale market is designed to send appropriate price signals to encourage generators to be available when needed, and for customers to lower their energy use.”

The SARA reports are based on reviewing generation availability and expected peak demand conditions at the time they are prepared.