ERCOT expects to have 82 GW available this fall

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the electric grid serving 90% of the state, expects to have enough power available to meet the region’s electricity demands this fall and winter.

ERCOT released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for fall (October-November) on Sept. 1. The release also included the preliminary outlook for winter (December-February).

The SARA report looks at the potential variables that may affect the availability of installed resources to meet the peak electric demand on the ERCOT system during each season.

Interestingly, ERCOT expects to see a record-breaking winter for power demand.

The fall SARA report includes more than 82,000 MW of total generation capacity and a peak demand forecast of about 54,400 MW. The preliminary SARA report for winter also reflects sufficient generation through high demand periods. The forecasted peak demand is just under 59,000 MW, exceeding the current all-time winter demand record of 57,265 MW set on Feb. 10, 2011. The final winter SARA report will be released in November.

“We study multiple scenarios, including extreme cases of very cold conditions and outages of significant amounts of generation capacity,” said Warren Lasher, ERCOT director of System Planning. “Based on the current forecast, we expect to have sufficient generation to carry us through high demand periods during the upcoming seasons.”

“While fall 2015 was the seventh warmest on record for Texas, we’re expecting this fall to reflect near-normal temperatures across most of ERCOT, with rainfall in the near-normal to above-normal ranges,” said ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman. “Combined, 2015 and 2016 are on track to be the wettest two consecutive years in Texas weather history,” Coleman said.

In recent months, four gas-fired combustion turbine units and three wind projects began operating, adding nearly 900 MW of fall capacity for peak demand, ERCOT said.

The forecast also accounts for a range of about 13,700 to more than 19,000 MW of planned and un-planned outages. Generating units often are taken out of service during fall and spring for routine maintenance. This helps prepare those units for more extreme weather during winter and summer.

About 1,200 MW of new winter-rated capacity is expected to be in service at the start of the winter season.

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