AUSTIN (KXAN) — Following a weekend of hot spring weather and a suggestion that Texans conserve energy, the state’s power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), on Monday released its outlook for the summer.
ERCOT said according to its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for summer 2022, the region “is expected to have sufficient installed generating capacity” to serve peak power demands from June through September.
The council said due to growth across Texas, it expects peak demand to hit 77,317 megawatts (MW), a new system-wide record.
ERCOT anticipates there will be 91,392 MW of power generation available during those peak hours, creating a buffer of roughly 14,000 MW.
“I think the summer peak estimate sounds reasonable,” said Hao Zhu who teaches power system analysis at the University of Texas at Austin.
Zhu said ERCOT’s numbers track what she has seen over the last few years.
Those estimates are based on normal system conditions. The report also examined seven risk scenarios and found the grid should be able to manage “most” of them.
Michael Jewell, managing attorney for Jewell and Associates which represents stakeholders in the ERCOT market, said the grid could run into trouble under two scenarios.
The first would be an “extraordinarily high” outage of natural gas, coal, or nuclear facilities. The second scenario would be a combination of smaller outages of those facilities coupled with low wind output.
“What ERCOT has indicated is that under normal operating conditions, the grid looks good,” Jewell told KXAN. “In many stressful situations, the grid looks good — but in high-stress situations, there are potential problems.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include an interview with a UT Austin professor