The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid serving most of Texas, expects to have sufficient generation available to serve forecasted peak demands in the upcoming fall and winter months.
ERCOT has released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for fall and the preliminary outlook for the coming winter.
ERCOT’s fall assessment for October and November is based on a weather forecast that is consistent with average weather patterns between mid-October and mid-November from 2002 through 2013, and planning scenarios include combinations of extremely high demand and forced outages at power plants.
With more than 77,000 megawatts (MW) of generation available overall, ERCOT expects to be well-prepared for the anticipated peak demand of just under 50,000 MW this fall. One MW of demand is typically enough to power about 500 homes during mild weather conditions and about 200 homes during summer peak demand.
Electric generation providers typically schedule maintenance outages during fall and spring to prepare for more extreme weather — and the corresponding higher demand for power — that occurs during winter and summer. It is typical for more than 9,000 MW to be off-line for maintenance during fall, and unplanned power plant outages could range from the typical 3,300 MW to more than 6,300 MW. Taking these factors into account, ERCOT expects reserves to range from about 3,600 MW, if peak demand is significantly higher than expected, to nearly 15,000 MW under expected conditions.
In addition to the final fall outlook, ERCOT also released the preliminary winter SARA today. Based on the results of this study, even during extreme conditions, the ERCOT Region is expected to have sufficient installed generating capacity to serve forecasted peak demands in the upcoming winter season (December 2015 — February 2016).
The all-time winter peak demand record of 57,265 MW, set in February 2011, was nearly matched in January 2014. Conditions that occurred during the 2014 weather event are reflected in the extreme scenarios included in the preliminary winter SARA.
The final winter SARA, currently scheduled for release Nov. 3, will reflect a more near-term weather forecast and any necessary updates associated with the factors identified in the preliminary report.ER