ERCOT sees third highest demand in history, generation keeps up

AUSTIN, TX, Aug. 8, 2013 — Demand for power on the grid that serves most of Texas hit the third highest level in its history on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Peak electric use within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region topped out at 67,180 megawatts (MW) during the 4-5 p.m. hour. The grid experienced no problems during the day, with more than 74,000 MW of electricity, including more than 2,300 MW of wind power, available during the peak hour.

“We appreciate all the work by transmission and generating companies to keep the power flowing on this very hot day,” said Kenneth McIntyre, ERCOT’s vice president for Grid Planning and Operations.

This was the highest demand so far in 2013, which has included a mild summer compared to 2012 and the record-breaking 2011, Texas’ hottest summer on record. ERCOT’s record peak occurred on Aug. 3, 2011, when demand hit 68,305 MW. One MW is typically enough electricity to power about 200 homes during peak demand.

“Until this week, peak demand and overall energy use have been lower this summer than in the past couple of years,” noted McIntyre. “Of course, August is typically the hottest month of the year, so we may see several more days like this before the summer ends, and we still may need to ask consumers to be especially mindful of their electricity use on some of those days.”

ERCOT demand exceeded 65,000 MW for the first time this year on Aug. 1, compared to June 25 last year and July 25 in 2011.

The fuel mix powering the grid during Wednesday’s peak included 59.3 percent natural gas, 29.2 percent coal, 7.5 percent nuclear, 3.4 percent wind, 0.3 percent diesel generation, 0.2 percent solar and biomass, and 0.1 percent hydroelectric power.

Here are ERCOT’s top five demand days.*

  1. 68,305 MW, Aug. 3, 2011
  2. 67,929 MW, Aug. 2, 2011
  3. 67,180 MW, Aug. 7, 2013
  4. 66,867 MW, Aug. 1, 2011
  5. 66,849 MW, Aug. 4, 2011

*Please note that older records are adjusted based on final settlement over time, while more recent records are based on operational data.

Anyone who is interested in how the grid is operating can follow hourly demand and capacity trends throughout the day on ERCOT’s website at or on its free ERCOT Energy Saver mobile app for Android and Apple devices, available for download at Google Play or the Apple App Store. The mobile app will begin offering even more features, including real-time wholesale prices, later this month.