Texas will have enough power to meet demand this summer: ERCOT

Reuters News
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Posted: May 04, 2015 11:11 AM

(Reuters) - Texas will have enough power supplies to meet expected demand this summer and autumn, the grid operator for most of the state said Monday.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) projected reserve margins in the grid would remain at comfortable levels in the double digits through 2025.

In the past, ERCOT had warned reserve margins were expected to fall to dangerously low levels below 10 percent that could affect reliability during peak demand times.

ERCOT said the grid had more than 77,000 megawatts of generation available to meet 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.

He warned however 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."

ERCOT said 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.

Expected generation resources have increased since release of the preliminary assessment, with the addition of a 717-MW natural gas-fired plant that will begin operating earlier than previously projected, ERCOT said.

That should more than offset the removal of a 294-MW project that has been delayed, ERCOT said.

ERCOT also said a 403-MW facility, previously affected by a lack of cooling water, was expected to return this summer.

The grid projected a 17 percent planning reserve margin in the summer of 2016, based on current load forecasts and capacity information provided by generation providers.

The projected margin increases incrementally to 18.5 percent in 2017 and 21.4 percent in 2018 before declining over time to 10.4 percent in 2025, ERCOT said.

ERCOT expects more than 4,500 MW in planned resource additions, including nearly 2,600 MW of new gas-fired capacity, through 2017, Lasher said.

Some of the biggest power companies in Texas include units of Energy Future Holdings, CenterPoint Energy Inc, American Electric Power Co Inc, NRG Energy Inc, Exelon Corp and NextEra Energy Inc.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Andrew Hay)