The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is forecasting that the state will have adequate electric capacity to meet demand for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. This comes as good news after recent worries about the state’s electricity capacity that have trouble the Texas grid the past few years. The, now optimistic, outlook has been brought about by both an increase in power generation within the state as well as improved forecasting methods that generally paint a more optimistic picture of future demand for power in Texas.
ERCOT’s Seasonal Assessment of Resources Adequacy (SARA) predicts a peak demand of around 62,000 MW this spring against and expected system capacity of over 76,600 MW. This puts the reserve margin at over 19%. Forecasts for the summer are a bit tighter but still within a comfortable range. ERCOT is expecting a peak summer demand of around 69,000 MW with and estimated capacity of around 77,000 MW.
While the forecast is based on average weather conditions over the previous 12 years and a typical amount of capacity loss due to outages, the forecast means that the grid should even stand up to extreme conditions such as the 2011 drought. In a repeat of such a scenario, the grid would still have around 500 MW of reserve power according to the forecast.
ERCOT is the organization responsible for maintaining the reliability of the Texas electricity market. The Texas grid is independent from the other main grids that provide electricity to the continental United States. Texas is also the largest deregulated electricity marketplace. Competition among electric providers in Texas helps keep electricity rates lower.