- The grid operator for 90% of Texas announced last week it expects to have sufficient resources this fall and winter to serve growing peak demand, aided by almost 1 GW of new capacity which has come online in recent months.
- The final fall Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report shows the grid with more than 82,000 MW of total generation capacity and a peak demand forecast of about 54,400 MW.
- Platts points out that the forecast peak demand this fall of 54,437 MW is an increase of more than 9% over last year's fall peak load estimates of almost 50,000 MW.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects to have adequate capacity for the upcoming fall and winter, aided by anticipated normal temperatures and the addition of new resources. But year-over-year expected peak load shows a strong increase, and the grid is adding new gas and wind power to meet demand. The new forecast come months after the grid operator set four new peak demand records in one week this summer due to high temperatures.
"Based on the current forecast, we expect to have sufficient generation to carry us through high demand periods during the upcoming seasons," ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher said in a statement.
Since the release of the preliminary SARA, the Texas grid operator said four gas-fired combustion turbine units and three wind projects began operating, adding nearly 900 MW of fall capacity for peak demand.
ERCOT's forecast also accounts for between 13,700 MW and 19,000 MW of planned and un-planned outages, as generating units often are taken out of service during fall and spring for routine maintenance to help prepare for the more extreme-weather seasons. Fall 2015 set the record for being the seventh warmest on record for the Lone Star state, but ERCOT expects this fall to "reflect near-normal temperatures across most of ERCOT, with rainfall in the near-normal to above-normal ranges," said ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman.
The preliminary SARA report for winter also reflects sufficient generation through high demand periods. The forecasted peak demand is just under 59,000 MW, exceeding the current all-time winter demand record of 57,265 MW. That record was set during the 2011 winter. Officials say about 1,200 MW of new winter-rated capacity is expected to be in service at the start of the winter season. The final winter SARA report will be released in November.