“We studied a range of potential risks and believe there will be sufficient operating reserves.”

— Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken.


Enough power to keep the lights on — according to operators of the state’s primary power grid, that’s what Texans should expect for the coming winter and spring.

ERCOT, also known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, this week released two important reports forecasting future electric generating capacity. One, the final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the upcoming winter season, covers the period from December 2019 through February 2020. The second, ERCOT’s preliminary assessment for the spring season, covers March through May of 2020. Both reports conclude that Texas should have sufficient installed generating capacity to serve system-wide peak demand.

“We studied a range of potential risks and believe there will be sufficient operating reserves,” said Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken.

ERCOT’s winter report forecasts demand that season at 62,257-megawatts (with each megawatt representing enough power for approximately 200 homes during high energy use). ERCOT said it based its forecast on its analysis of normal weather conditions during peak periods beginning in 2003. The all-time winter peak demand record sits at 65,915 MW, according to ERCOT, a record set on Jan. 17, 2018.

But ERCOT expects more than 82,000 MW of resource capacity available this winter — more than enough to meet peak forecasts. ERCOT said some of its forecasted capacity will come from 136 MW of gas-fired and wind generation that become commercially operable in recent months.

The grid operator also projects sufficient generation capacity during the spring of 2020. ERCOT said an additional 2,903 MW of new gas-fired units, wind and utility-scale solar will serve the state’s spring generation needs during that season, which should peak at 64,233 MW. However, ERCOT’s final projections for the upcoming spring season will not be available until March.


ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 650 generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlements for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for more than 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.
Source: Electric Reliability Council of Texas


— R.A. Dyer