ERCOT estimates tight but manageable summer power supply

The first day of summer is still officially a few months away, but the state grid operator is already estimating tight reserves for electricity supply, especially if the summer is hotter than normal.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state grid and manages the wholesale electric market, believes power suppliers will be able to meet summer demands without rolling outages, according to its preliminary summer assessment released on Thursday.

“We are expecting above-normal temperatures this summer – though not as extreme as last summer’s,” Kent Saathoff, vice president of grid operations for ERCOT, said in a written statement. “If that’s the case, we expect to be able to meet the peak demand on the grid, unless we have above-normal generation outages.”

ERCOT has said that it is working with the Public Utility Commission to increase its load management options in the case of an emergency. These options could include bringing mothballed power plants online and working on various conservation measures.

ERCOT has said it probably will need to issue Energy Emergency Alerts at several points during the summer, but that these will not result in the need for rotating outages.  Typically, ERCOT makes a public appeal for conservation during such alerts.