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Record electricity use expected this summer; ERCOT prepares for potential tight conditions

Posted March 6, 2020

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects record electric use this summer and grid conditions similar to summer 2019.

ERCOT released its final Season Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the spring season (March through May) and its preliminary assessment for the summer season (June through September).

“ERCOT has added new electric supply resources, and strong economic growth continues to push up demand in ERCOT,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “We expect grid operations to be very similar to last summer.”

As in 2019, the need to declare an energy emergency will depend on a combination of factors, including demand, wind output and the number of generators on outage on any given day. ERCOT and its market participants are taking steps to ensure system reliability can be maintained during tight conditions.

Declaring an energy emergency allows the grid operator to take advantage of additional resources that are only available under these types of conditions. Additionally, the ERCOT wholesale market is designed to send appropriate price signals to encourage generators to be available when needed, and for customers to lower their energy use.

Total resource capacity for the upcoming summer season is expected to be 82,417 megawatts. The preliminary summer SARA report includes a 76,696-megawatt summer peak load forecast based on normal summer peak weather conditions from 2004-2018. One megawatt typically powers about 200 homes on a summer day.

The final summer SARA report will be released in early May and will reflect the expected summer weather conditions.

Based on the spring SARA report, ERCOT anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet system-wide demand under a range of extreme system conditions. The spring SARA includes a 64,233-megawatt spring peak load forecast and is unchanged from the preliminary spring SARA.

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