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Grid expected to handle record power use this summer, ERCOT says

  • Mar 6, 2020
Austin American-Statesman

Texans are expected to use record amounts of electricity this summer, but the power grid should be able to handle the peak load, preliminary estimates show.

Peak electricity use, expected to rise by 2,000 megawatts this summer, will be offset by about 3,500 megawatts of added capacity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the operator of the state's main power grid.

The added generation, largely from wind and solar power sites, reduces -- but does not eliminate -- the risk of having to declare an energy emergency during excessively hot summer days, the agency said.

"We still expect tight supply conditions to occur during the highest demand hours," said Warren Lasher, ERCOT's senior director of system planning.

Energy emergencies can be influenced by high demand, low wind output and the number of generators that are out of service at a given time, among other factors, the agency said.

This summer, up to 82,417 megawatts of capacity are expected to be available.

The preliminary summer analysis projects a peak load of 76,696 megawatts, an estimate based on normal summer conditions from 2004 to 2018, the agency said.

ERCOT will release its refined summer projections in early May.

Lasher said it was too early to determine what, if any, impact the novel coronavirus could have on demand or the availability of power. When the agency contacted companies that provide parts and resources, "we were not notified of any delays at this time," he said.


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