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ERCOT Expects Record Peak Demand this Summer, Tight Reserves

May 07, 2018

ERCOT has released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report for the upcoming summer season (June – September).   Based on normal operating conditions, ERCOT expects to have sufficient generation to meet demand which it pegs at a 72,756 MW summer peak load forecast based on normal weather conditions. This forecast is more than 1,600 MW higher than the all-time peak demand record of 71,110 MW set in August 2016.

The anticipated record demand, combined with recent plant retirements and delays in some planned resources, is expected to result in tight reserves that could trigger the need for ERCOT to deploy such resources as Ancillary Services and contracted Emergency Response Service capacity to maintain sufficient operating reserve levels. ERCOT may also request that Transmission and/or Distribution Service Providers (TDSPs) implement load control measures established through Standard Offer contracts with their customers.

Based on the December 2017 Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report, there is approximately 2,300 MW of such additional capacity available to ERCOT for addressing reserve deficiency situations. ERCOT also anticipates further voluntary load reductions and an increase in power sold in the market by industrial facilities in response to higher power prices during peak demand.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the difference between the amount of electricity that Texas can produce, and the amount of expected demand is the narrowest in eleven years.

The three-month outlook from the National Weather Service shows above average temperatures across ERTOC through the month of July.  However, Cooling Degree Days (CDDs) for Houston and Dallas are significantly less thus far in 2018 versus 2016, at least for the first month in the Summer Strip (April).  Houston stands at 223 in 2018 versus 352 in 2016.  Dallas has registered 139 CDDs this year compared to 268 in 2016.