Texas electric grid breaks demand record, again

The Texas electric grid broke the all-time record for hourly demand between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday as temperatures continue to peak above 100 degrees, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

The ERCOT system demand reached 68,459 megawatts within the record 60-minute time frame, which exceeded the previous Aug. 3, 2011 record of 68,305 megawatts. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes during periods of peak demand.

“We appreciate the work generation and transmission providers in the ERCOT region have put into preparing the system for ever-increasing electric demand as the Texas economy continues to grow,” ERCOT Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brad Jones said in a prepared statement.

Jones said the demand likely will increase even more on Thursday and Friday with temperatures expected to keep increasing. Temperatures are expected to continue to peak in the triple digits through much of next week, ERCOT projects.

“ERCOT will continue to monitor system conditions closely to determine whether voluntary conservation is needed by consumers to maintain overall reliability and protect the grid,” Jones added.

On July 29, ERCOT asked Texas consumers to reduce their power use to reduce the chance of outages, though Jones said the electric grid has been able to provide capacity as high as 71,000 megawatts. It was the first system-wide conservation alert since March 4, 2014.

As for the record-setting Wednesday, ERCOT said wind power contributed about 2,500 megawatts during the peak.