New ERCOT reports show adequate reserves for summer and fall 2015

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in reports issued May 4 that it expects to have enough electric generation to serve expected power demands for the coming summer and fall.

ERCOT also expects that its long-term planning reserve margins should remain in double-digits through 2025. ERCOT projects a 17% planning reserve margin in summer 2016, based on ERCOT’s current load forecast and capacity information provided by generation providers.

The projected margin increases incrementally to 18.5% in 2017 and 21.4% in 2018 before declining over time to 10.4% in 2025.

The final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for this summer anticipates more than 77,000 megawatts (MW) of available generation resources to serve expected peak demand of about 68,000 MW. One MW is enough electricity to serve about 200 homes on a hot summer afternoon.

“Based on the information we have today, ERCOT expects to have sufficient resources to keep up with demand this summer,” said ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. “While we anticipate plenty of reserves, we also remind consumers that unusually extensive generation outages during extremely hot weather or localized challenges in some areas, such as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, could result in a need to reduce demand on all or part of the system.”

The new assessment includes an updated peak demand forecast that reflects milder summer weather, compared to the 12-year average weather used in the preliminary report released in March.

“Current trends favor weather conditions similar to those we saw in 2014,” said ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman. “We also may continue to experience somewhat wetter conditions, which is good news as long-term drought conditions continue to improve in much of the state.”

Expected generation resources have increased since release of the preliminary assessment, with addition of a 717 MW natural gas-fired plant that will begin operating earlier than previously projected, more than offsetting removal of a 294 MW project that has been delayed. New wind generation resources totaling 1,265 MW are included as an additional 152 MW of planned resources, or 12% of total nameplate capacity. Additionally, a three-unit, 403-MW facility, which previously was affected by a lack of cooling water, is expected to return this summer.

The additional planning reserve margin in the next couple of years is largely attributable to more combined-cycle natural gas generation coming online, according to ERCOT data.

Panda Temple gas plant will provide extra capacity

For the summer season, expected new planned capacity additions now include the natural gas-fired 790 MW Panda Temple II facility (717 MW summer rating), which previously was forecasted to be available in August and is now expected in May 2015, according to ERCOT.

The construction schedule has also changed for the planned 341 MW gas-fired project, Ector County Energy Center G (294 MW summer rating, and formerly called Goldsmith Peakers). This facility has been delayed into the fall 2015 season. The forecast for planned wind additions is 1,265 nameplate MW, with a summer Peak Average Capacity Contribution of 152 MW.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.