As summer approaches, ERCOT says ‘risk for controlled outages is low’ based on current data

Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is working to restore public trust after the February winter storm that many Central Texans are still recovering from.

Repairs and renovations to homes across Central Texas haven’t stopped for the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN). It’s been about 41 days since the blackouts from the winter storm, and the organization still has more than 100 requests from people who still need help recovering.

While ADRN restores lives, the state’s electric grid operator is working to restore public trust.

In an hour-long phone call with reporters Thursday, ERCOT laid out a preliminary assessment for summer demand. Based on information provided by generator owners, the grid operator anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet the summer 2021 peak demand based on expected system conditions.

ERCOT on Thursday released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for the spring season (March – May) and its preliminary assessment for the summer season (June – September).

Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for Summer 2021 from ERCOT

“ERCOT will benefit from growth in generation resources, but forecasts are also showing another record-breaking summer on the demand side,” said ERCOT’s Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. “Overall, power reserves are in a better position heading into this summer compared to the past few years.”

ERCOT says generators in Texas are typically built to maximize performance during hot weather conditions. With continued economic growth across the state, ERCOT says it anticipates a summer 2021 peak demand of 77,144 MW, which would be a new system-wide peak demand record for the region.

New extreme scenarios

In response to the unprecedented winter weather event in February that forced half of the generation in ERCOT to go offline, the grid operator is including more extreme scenarios that could lead to energy emergencies and the possibility of controlled outages.

“We recently experienced a terrible tragedy, and ERCOT is committed to working with legislators, regulators and stakeholders on how to prepare for more extreme outcomes moving forward,” said Rickerson. “We must strike a balance between communicating the possibility of these types of conditions and providing realistic seasonal expectations.”

Summer preparations

Prior to summer, ERCOT says the council and its market participants take additional steps to ensure system reliability. Steps include:

  • Coordination with Transmission Service Providers (TSPs) to limit planned outages during the summer months
  • Request generators to contact gas suppliers to identify any pipeline activities that would affect the availability of gas for their generators during the summer season
  • Communications coordination with Market Participants
  • The final summer SARA report will be released in early May and will reflect ERCOT’s expected summer weather conditions.
  • ERCOT says that public messaging and statewide safety alerts are now a top priority to help customers during an energy emergency.

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