ERCOT expects adequate capacity for winter-spring 2016-2017

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said Nov. 1 that it currently expects to have enough generation capacity available to serve the region’s electricity demands this winter and next spring.

The new Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) reports provide the final outlook for winter (December 2016-February 2017) and the preliminary outlook for spring (March-May 2017). The SARA reports include multiple scenarios that could impact the availability of generation resources to meet peak electric demand on the ERCOT system.

“Based on the current forecast, we expect to have sufficient generation to support high demand on the system, even in the most extreme conditions studied,” said Warren Lasher, ERCOT senior director of System Planning. “While we do not anticipate any systemwide reliability issues, there is a possibility of localized impacts if multiple outages occur during extreme weather conditions.”

ERCOT forecasts a winter peak of more than 58,000 MW, which would surpass ERCOT’s all-time winter peak record of 57,265 MW set Feb. 10, 2011. This forecast is unchanged from the forecast provided in the preliminary winter SARA released in September.

“We can experience a wide range of operating scenarios during winter and spring,” Lasher said. “Although the forecast currently does not indicate a particularly cold winter overall, we could see a few very cold days — even during the early days of spring — that could drive up demand during some early morning and evening hours.”

Since the release of the preliminary winter report, the total generation resource capacity expected to be available for peak demand has increased to nearly 82,000 MW, including planned resources that are expected to provide more than 800 MW of new generation by winter and almost 600 MW from new resources that have begun operating since the last report.

The preliminary SARA report for spring 2017, which anticipates a seasonal peak of more than 58,000 MW in May, also reflects sufficient generation. The assessment takes into account expected generation outages that typically occur during spring for routine maintenance, as well as a range of possible generation outage scenarios and weather conditions that could affect seasonal demand.

More than 1,700 MW of new natural gas, wind, and solar resources are expected to be available by the start of the spring season. The final spring SARA report will be released in March 2017.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.