ERCOT Says High Demand And Tight Reserves May Result In Energy Alerts This Summer
March 5, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said today that it expects record electric use this summer and an increased chance of energy alerts.
ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the upcoming spring season (March – May) and its preliminary assessment for the summer season (June – September).
"Prior to each season, we consider a range of potential risks to determine whether there will be sufficient capacity to meet the expected peak load forecast," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. "In all of the scenarios studied, we identified a potential need to call an energy alert at various times this summer."
The declaration of an alert by ERCOT allows it to call on resources that are only available during scarcity conditions. These resources include demand response products, resources that are normally set aside to provide operating reserves (including contracted load reduction from some industrial facilities), additional generation or imports from neighboring regions and voluntary calls for conservation by consumers.
ERCOT said that its current planning reserve margin is a historically low 7.4% while electric demand in the ERCOT region continues to grow. Between 2016 and March 2019, ERCOT set 16 new monthly peak demand records and new all-time system-wide peak demand records in 2016 and 2018.
Total resource capacity for the upcoming summer is expected to be 78,154 MW. The preliminary summer SARA report includes a 74,853 MW summer peak load forecast based on normal summer peak weather conditions for 2003-2017.
The final summer SARA report will be released in May and will reflect the expected summer weather conditions.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas issued the following statement concerning the SARA reports:
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) continues to closely monitor the forecast for the supply of and demand for electricity for the coming summer. Continued increases in the projections for demand as well as the recent mothballing of an uneconomic power plant have further reduced the reserve margin that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power region relies upon in times of peak demand. The Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) that was released today reflects the potential impacts of the lower reserve margin on the operations of the ERCOT system.
While the anticipated operating reserves for this summer will be even tighter than experienced last year, it is important to note that ERCOT has a number of mechanisms and tools to maintain system reliability. One such tool is a program that compensates customers willing to temporarily reduce their demand during emergency situations.
The PUC and ERCOT have already been taking steps to prepare for the summer. The PUC has been working with the Railroad Commission, ERCOT, gas-fueled generating facilities, and gas pipeline companies to coordinate pipeline outages to facilitate the continued provision of natural gas to electric generation facilities during peak demand in the summer. The PUC remains dedicated to ensuring that market rules support the investment needed for our growing state and vibrant economy.