Texas should be ready for peak summer power demand *update*


Texas should have more than enough power generation capacity to meet peak demand this summer — which is expected to be lower than last year’s peak — the state’s main power grid operator said in its annual summer assesment.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says the grid’s power output should be able to exceed peak demand by 18.4 17.5 percent this summer – almost five four percentage points higher than the 13.75 percent threshold ERCOT sets for reliability standards.

**** Update

On June 2 ERCOT put out a correction saying the real reserve margin is 17.5 percent. ERCOT said three new gas-fired power plants totaling 565 megawatts were inadvertently counted twice because the date in which they were put into operation had been changed.


The peak demand forecast for this summer is 63,898 megawatts, nearly 2,000 MW less than last summer’s record-breaking peak of 65,776 MW set on Aug. 23.  

The demand forecast is based on long term historical average temperatures and economic conditions as measured by employment. 

Reserve margins are forecast to remain above the minimum target through 2013, an increase of more than 2 percentage points since the last assessment, which showed the reserve margin dropping below the minimum beginning in 2013.

“Our reserve margins for the next several years have improved due to the addition of more than 1,000 MW of additional generation,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of grid operations and system planning.

The 2011 forecast includes 1,484 MW of capacity or “emergency interruptible loads” that are contractually obligated to be available to help with power emergencies.

Another 128 MW in demand reduction is expected this summer due to energy efficiency programs. 

The margin doesn’t include another 2,300 MW of generation capacity that is mothballed but could be brought back into service. 

Summer generation by fuel type is 64.4 64.2 percent natural gas, 25.8 26 percent coal, 7 percent nuclear, 1.1 percent wind, and 0.7 percent hydro, 0.1 percent biomass and 0.8 percent other.

In February the state experienced rolling blackouts when several days of cold weather led to the failure of dozens of power generation units throughout the state.

An investigation by the state’s independent market monitor concluded that the problem was not due to attempts at market manipulation, but a report by federal reliability officials concluded power plant operators could have done more to prepare for the cold.

Categories: Electricity
Tom Fowler

10 Responses

  1. Jeff S says:

    For those complaining about their AC never shutting off, even with inside temps at 80+… Get your ducts checked, and get your AC checked. Also, look into installing low-e windows (double paned windows, basically), as they will pay for themselves VERY quickly. Another thing to do is look into getting more insulation in your attic, and the next time you get your roof replaced, check into getting a “radiant barrier” installed in your attic. My wife and I bought a new, two-story house last year, and even with our AC at 79 during the day, and 74 when we are home, our HIGHEST electric bill from May-October last year was $126. We have low-e windows, extra insulation, and the thermal barrier, and they pay for themselves to say the least. Also, even in high summer, the highest temp I’ve seen in our attic was 105… which is nothing compared to the 130+ that many people see.

  2. tejanoneck says:

    I’ll take the over.

  3. Since you know its going to happen why don,t you be prepared for it, but like last year sit there and complain electric companies

  4. TXSFRED says:

    If this made you have faith in the “Grid” raise your hand and say Hurrah!….( chirp chirp )

  5. Paul says:

    Fortunately, I don’t think there are any cold snaps in the forecast any time soon.

  6. loudoggx says:

    Increased population, record droughts, and record temps already in some regions and they are forecasting less peak demand than last summer? How does that work out?

  7. David says:

    I think we’ll easily break 63,898 this summer. We hit 57,286 yesterday, and it was still May. Wait until July and August get here. I remember last summer. I couldn’t set my air conditioner below 82, because if I did, it wouldn’t ever turn off.

  8. In other words, you are about to get screwed.

  9. Observer says:

    And to boot the schools and administrators can’t possibly imagine how they might squeese more out of the money allocated to them by the state and the ISDs.

  10. ss says:

    well i have a average size home, about 1300 sq ft and i kept everything off unless i am using them. i kept my ac on 80 so i dont use as much electricity, if i am gone all day i bump it up to 84.

    i just think it is not right/fair when all the large stores and homes use up all the elctricity while i am trying to conserve it.

    while i am doing my best conserving it, everyone else blastes their a/c all day long.

    and then we have all the schools who leaves the lights on, the computers on, the a/c on all night long, waisting electricity…..and then to make things worse us taxpayers have to pay their electric bills….