Oops: Texas’ summer power picture just a bit less bright

We reported earlier this week that Texas’ main grid operator expects to have 18.4 percent more power generation capacity available than the expected peak demand, well above the state-mandated 13.75 percent margin.

Turns out officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas made an error and double-counted some power plants. The real reserve margin: 17.5 percent.

In a statement this morning 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 change shouldn’t matter, particularly since ERCOT said it expects this year’s peak power usage to be below last year’s record due to economic growth projections. But it’s the kind of error that doesn’t instill a lot of confidence, particularly given what seems to have been an industry-wide failure to adequately prepare for a cold spell in February that led to rolling blackouts.

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