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ERCOT Says Power Should Stay On In Texas Throughout The Summer

TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Even on the hottest day this summer the air conditioning should stay on, according to ERCOT's final seasonal assessment.

Though a new record demand for power is expected, there should be enough reserves from new gas, solar and wind generation to avoid the need for emergency conservation or blackouts like February.

ERCOT did include some extreme scenarios in its report for the first time, intended to make people aware of the potential risks.

"These additional scenarios is our proactive attempt to not only communicate what the risks are but try to restore the trust of Texans," said senior director of system planning for ERCOT, Warren Lasher.

The report predicts a peak of 77,144 megawatts, topping the record of 74,820 set Aug. 12, 2019. The additional power demand is equivalent to what it would take to power more than 464,000 homes.

Instead of looking at the highest demand day, ERCOT also looked at potential scenarios of days with low wind or low sunlight, that could impact generating sources. An extreme combination of events could leave the state more than 26,000 megawatts short of what's needed, although the organization gave it a 1% chance of happening.

ERCOT also plans visits to some plants starting later this month to assess their summer weatherization plans, putting a priority on plants that have had some type of outage within the past few years.

Dr. Ann Bluntzer, the acting director of the TCU Energy Institute, noted ERCOT's plans to coordinate with transmission providers to limit summer outages, and also asked generators to identify any potential pipeline activities that would affect the availability of natural gas.

"That's major," she said. "That's never been in writing anywhere. That wasn't a policy."

Bluntzer said the transparency was a step in the right direction for consumers. The absence of any significant capacity for power storage is still though the "obvious elephant in the room," she said, as it might provide some ability to mitigate another scenarios like what occurred over the winter.

ERCOT also released its preliminary fall forecast, which also expects sufficient capacity.

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