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ERCOT Expects Record Power Demand In Texas This Summer

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects record demand for electricity this summer, but sees a low risk of emergency conditions, the manager of the Texas power grid said on Thursday.

ERCOT, however, will visit some select power plants to inspect their preparedness for summer heat and extreme weather events for the first time, after the Texas Freeze in February left millions of people without electricity for days.

Back in the middle of February, ERCOT called for rotating outages across the state as extreme winter weather forced wind power generating units offline, while electricity demand set a new winter peak record.

“We are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units,” ERCOT, which manages electricity supply to more than 26 million Texas customers, said then.

Ahead of the summer seasonal peak in power demand, ERCOT now sees “low risk of emergency conditions based on expected generation availability and weather conditions.”

“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,” Woody Rickerson, ERCOT’s vice president of planning and operations said, as carried by Houston Chronicle.

“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,” Rickerson added.

For this summer demand forecast, ERCOT has worked with more scenarios for extreme weather, it said.

According to Rob Allerman, senior director of power analytics at energy research firm Enverus, even if power outages occur this summer, they wouldn’t be of the catastrophic magnitude from the winter. 

“Could we have outages? Sure, it’s possible. But nothing like we saw this winter,” Houston Chronicle quoted Allerman as telling reporters on call last week.   

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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