ERCOT issues reliability-must-run agreement for NRG’s Greens Bayou Unit 5

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said June 3 that it has determined that Greens Bayou Unit 5, which is part of the NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) system is needed for transmission system stability in the Houston region.

ERCOT has executed a reliability-must-run (RMR) agreement with the plant owner, NRG Texas Power, to keep the unit available this summer (through September 2016) and will ask the ERCOT Board of Directors in June to approve an extension of the agreement to keep the plant available during summer through June 2018.

Unit 5 is listed in GenerationHub records as a natural gas turbine with a nameplate capacity of 446 MW, making by far the largest unit at Greens Bayou. The Greens Bayous complex is located in Greater Houston in Harris County, Texas.

The plant ran very little in 2014, according to GenerationHub data.

ERCOT expects the Houston Import Project will be completed in time for peak conditions later in the summer of 2018. The agreement does not include off-peak periods (October through May) because ERCOT planning studies do not indicate reliability violations in the Houston region during that period.

Payment for this service will be based on the eligible costs identified in ERCOT protocols as necessary to keep the plant available during these summer periods for this reliability purpose. ERCOT will begin evaluating possible lower-cost alternatives to the RMR agreement, including a request for proposals for demand response services to support transmission stability in the Houston region.

This is the first RMR agreement since 2011. Since 2002, ERCOT has executed 73 other RMR agreements, of which 69 have been for the purpose of transmission stability.

A revision to its protocols in 2011 also enabled ERCOT to enter RMR agreements to address short-term resource adequacy concerns. Four RMR agreements in 2011 returned mothballed units to service due to anticipated generation shortages during that summer’s peak demand period.

ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to nearly 24 million Texas customers, representing about 90% of the state’s electric load.

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.