ERCOT wholesale power prices were much lower in 2015

With natural gas prices remaining low and wind generation increasing in 2015, wholesale power prices per MWh in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) day-ahead and real-time markets decreased by about a third to $26.77/MWh.

That’s according to data from Potomac Economics, ERCOT said in its recent State of the Grid report. Potomac is an independent market monitor.

Consumers in the ERCOT region used 347.5 million MWh of energy in 2015, up 2.2% from the previous year. Peak demand reached 69,877 MW, up 5.2% from the 2014 hourly peak and 2.3% from the previous record set in 2011, ERCOT said.

Jan. 1 of 2016 marked a changing of the guard for the (ERCOT) when Trip Doggett turned over the reins as ERCOT president and CEO to Bill Magness. Magness previously served as ERCOT’s general counsel.

ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers, representing 90% of the state electric load. As the independent system operator (ISO)  for the region, ERCOT scheduled power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generating units.

“In 2015, we saw one example of how well our market responds to system needs when we reached nearly 70,000 MW of peak demand, the first new all-time record since 2011, and maintained smooth operations,” ERCOT said in its State of the Grid.

“On Aug. 10, the ERCOT region set its new all-time demand record of 69,877 MW, also marking the first time in ERCOT’s history demand topped 69,000 MW,” ERCOT reported. The exact figure was 69,877 MW, ERCOT said.

The summer of 2015 will be remembered as record-breaking on multiple fronts for the ERCOT system, according to the report. Over the course of the summer months, the system set new records for all-time demand, July electric demand and weekend demand.

On Dec. 20, ERCOT also set an instantaneous wind generation output record of 13,883 MW.

ERCOT also continues to integrate record amounts of wind generation and new utility-scale solar generation while exploring other emerging technologies, according to the report.

ERCOT said that its competitive retail market has consistently ranked No. 1 in the United States and Canada.

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.