Plenty of Texas power through 2013

Texas will have plenty of power generating capacity to keep its electric grid stable at least through 2013, thanks in part to 3,100 megawatts of new power capacity added to the system since May, according to a semi-annual report from the state grid operator.

ercot_reserve_margins_dec_2009
ERCOT reserve margins since May 2007.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said the reserve margin – the amount of power capacity available above project peak power usage – will remain above 12.5 percent through 2013 based on current projects.
It could drop below that rate in 2014 – due largely to a delays in the construction of the 1,792 MW Cobisa Greenville Project, a natural gas-fired power plant that originally was scheduled for completion in 2013.
Of the 3,140 MW of additional capacity installed this year 1,689 MW is from new coal plants and 1,093 from natural gas plants.
The reserve margin reports are used from time to time to create panic about the state of the grid. TXU dangled the spectre of rolling blackouts in the future if the state didn’t move forward with a massive build-out of coal fired plants it was planning.
As the state with the most open power markets (or least-regulated power markets, depending on your perspective) plants largely get built based on market incentives, whether a company believes they can make money on it. The ERCOT market has been a favorite for companies for that very reason for a number of years. So long as it is profitable it seems Texas’ power reserves should remain healthy.

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