ERCOT’s winter forecast includes enough generation resources for expected conditions

Nov. 1, 2012, AUSTIN, TX — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, today released its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for the upcoming winter season and a preliminary outlook for spring 2013.

ERCOT anticipates that there will be enough power available to serve consumer needs within the ERCOT grid during the upcoming winter, assuming weather conditions and generation outages fall within the anticipated planning conditions. The SARA projects more than 74,200 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity to serve anticipated peak demand of about 58,000 MW during the winter months. One MW is enough power to serve about 500 homes during mild weather conditions and about 200 homes during high-demand summer months.

“Winter in the ERCOT region typically does not drive electric use to the levels the grid experiences during summer, and we don’t expect to have problems keeping up with anticipated demand,” said Warren Lasher, ERCOT’s director of System Planning. “However, if we experience record-breaking weather conditions and more generation outages than typically occur this time of year, ERCOT may need to reduce customer demand at some point during the weather event to protect the grid.”

ERCOT’s all-time winter peak record of 57,315 MW occurred on Feb. 10, 2011. Expected electric use in this report is based in part on the Climate Prediction Center’s winter weather forecast. Operating reserves at peak are expected to range between 4,000 MW and 8,000 MW from December through February.

ERCOT’s preliminary spring forecast anticipates sufficient generation resources during March through May of 2013.

“Generators typically bring many plants off-line for maintenance early in the spring when weather is mild,” said Lasher. “As long as most of those plants are back in operation before the weather warms up later in the spring, we should be in good shape.”

Both seasonal assessments incorporate updated information on projected generation availability, weather projections, economic forecasts and other data to define a likely range of electric supply and demand scenarios.

ERCOT will assess any changes to the spring forecast prior to release of the final spring assessment on March 1.