ERCOT Appears to Have Plenty of Electricity Ready To Get Through This Texas Winter and Spring

November 7, 2019

There will be enough ready electricity to get through the forecast high-demand situations of the winter and spring, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says.

In its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for this winter, ERCOT said it’s expecting a 62,257 MW winter peak demand, based on normal Texas weather during December 2019 through February 2020.

Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken said, “We studied a range of potential risks and believe there will be sufficient operating reserves to meet the forecasted peak demand.”

The all-time winter peak demand record was set on Jan. 17, 2018, with a capacity of 65,915 MW used between 7 and 8 a.m. that cold day.

In contrast, ERCOT said in its winter SARA released on Thursday that it has more than 82,000 MW of resource capacity expected to be available for peak demand, including “136 MW of winter-rated resource capacity (gas-fired and wind) that has become commercially operable since the release of the preliminary winter SARA.”

That’s more than 16,000 MW of spare capacity even beyond that 2018 peak demand record.

And an additional 768 MW of planned winter-rated resource capacity should be available during peak periods, including new gas-fired generation along with wind and utility-scale solar projects.

And based on historical winter outage records going back to 2016, the winter SARA includes a unit outage forecast of 7,163 MW during the winter months.

As for spring, 2020, ERCOT expects to have sufficient generation available to meet system-wide demand, based on expected spring peak weather conditions.

The preliminary SARA report for spring 2020 “anticipates a seasonal peak demand of 64,233 MW,” according to an ERCOT statement.

Based on ERCOT’s preliminary assessment, an additional 2,903 MW of planned resource capacity comprised of gas-fired units, wind and utility-scale solar is expected to be available to meet the spring peak demand.

The final spring 2020 SARA report is expected in early March.

ERCOT notes that the SARA assessments factor in “expected generation outages that typically occur during each season for routine maintenance, as well as a range of generation outage scenarios and weather conditions that could affect seasonal demand.”