ERCOT: Risk of summer emergency grid conditions are low

Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects a record demand for electricity this summer, but they also say the risk for “emergency conditions” is low.

ERCOT released its seasonal report for the summer months, which includes June-September, and the report says the agency expects a peak summer energy demand of 77,144 megawatts with a total capacity of 86,862 megawatts. That means ERCOT expects to have nearly 16% more available megawatts of power to cover the highest demand of the summer season when Texas really heats up.

ERCOT says one megawatt typically powers about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.

ERCOT’s Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson said the agency has looked at scenarios that are unlikely to happen, but could impact energy capacity in a big way if they were to happen.

“While the risk for emergency conditions remains low this summer based on many of the scenarios studied, a combination of factors in real time, including record demand, high thermal generation outages and low wind/solar output could result in tight grid conditions,” Rickerson said.

“We cannot control the weather or forced generation outages, but we are prepared to deploy the tools that are available to us to maintain a reliable electric system,” he said.

Some of the more extreme scenarios in the report, ERCOT said, have a less than 1% of happening but were still included because they are “all within the realm of possibility.” The report also notes that there’s a potential for “tight” conditions if wind conditions aren’t as high as anticipated or during early-evening hours when the sun sets and solar energy resources go offline.

ERCOT also doesn’t expect drought conditions to interfere with energy capacity. The agency plans to visit some power plants to review plans for summer weatherization, something they haven’t done before.

The agency is holding a call at 2 p.m. Thursday to further explain the report, and KXAN will participate in that.

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