Texas grid well-prepared for fall, winter electricity demand, ERCOT says

A map of Texas showing the state s transmission lines is a focal point in the control room of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state's power grid. (Ryan Holeywell/Houston Chronicle)
A map of Texas showing the state s transmission lines is a focal point in the control room of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state’s power grid. (Ryan Holeywell/Houston Chronicle)

The Texas grid is projected to have more than enough electricity to power the state during the fall and winter seasons, the state’s primary operator said Wednesday.

The electric grid held up well during the summer — even during several periods of record demand in early August — and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90 percent of the state’s power load, expects that to continue in the fall.

“We study multiple scenarios, including extreme cases of very cold conditions and outages of significant amounts of generation capacity,” said Warren Lasher, ERCOT director of system planning. “Based on the current forecast, we expect to have sufficient generation to carry us through high demand periods during the upcoming seasons.”

The state’s grid is expected to have more than 82,200 megawatts of generation capacity during autumn, which ERCOT expects to have near-normal temperatures. Even during extreme outages this fall, the grid would have at least 8,730 megawatts of excess capacity, according to ERCOT.

In winter, when colder weather can produce more outages, the grid would have 2,127 megawatts of excess capacity, the council said.

Among the reasons cited for the capacity: Expanded use of wind farms and natural gas-fired power plants has outpaced the state’s ballooning population and electricity demand.

RELATED: Texas electricity consumption breaks record in Monday’s heat

Still, that system was tested during the summer. Multiple demand records were set from Aug. 8-11, with record demand at 71,197 megawatts within the ERCOT system. One megawatt typically powers 200 homes on the hottest Texas days.

Peak demand this fall is expected to be 54,437 megawatts, followed by 58,591 megawatts in winter.

 

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