It’s shaping up to be a hot week in Texas but the state’s main electric grid operator isn’t expecting problems meeting demand.
The 2009 summer assessment has a forecast peak demand of more than 61,000 megawatts in July and more than 62,000 MW in August. There’s a 17 percent reserve margin available to handle extreme heat and unexpected major outages.
That being said, we could still break a record for June power demand this week. The peak demand record for ERCOT is 62,339 MW, reached on Aug. 17, 2006. This morning system operators were forecasting a peak demand of over 60,400 MW. Anything over 59,642 MW would be a record for the month of June — 59,642 MW on June 16, 2008 between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
But as ERCOT spokeswoman Dottie Roark notes, “… a sudden storm or cloud cover that cools off one of the major load centers – like D/FW or Houston – can cause the load on the grid to drop considerably.”
“If the temperatures stay high this week, and the evening temperatures aren’t low enough to cool things down, the heat could build up by the end of the week. That’s why we often break peak demand records on a Thursday. Friday demand seems to taper off.”
The peak demand for Monday was 58,390 MW, not a record. The report this morning is calling for a peak of more than 60,787 MW today (as of this writing).
If you want to check this out yourself here’s the link for the current day projections and the link for prior day demand (you may need to change the day in the box at the top of the page).