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Mild weather, sufficient electricity expected this winter and next spring, ERCOT says


From the November 6, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published November 6, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates sufficient power to serve consumer needs during the upcoming winter and spring. In its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the upcoming winter and a preliminary outlook for spring, ERCOT said peak demand this winter should remain below 50,000 MW. Although some generators have announced plans to retire or temporarily shut down units that were included in the preliminary forecast, about 74,000 MW of resources are slated to be available during the winter months, the grid operator said.

"Although we expect fewer resources and slightly higher demand than our preliminary forecast indicated, we expect to be in good shape for the winter ahead," said Warren Lasher, ERCOT’s director of system planning. "Overall, we expect the weather this winter to be relatively warm, much like the temperatures we have experienced in the past couple of years," said ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman.

If extremely high electric use and power plant outages beyond the planning scenarios were to occur simultaneously, there is a slight possibility that ERCOT would need to take steps to reduce demand on the grid, according to the seasonal assessment.

The preliminary outlook for spring 2014 also anticipates sufficient resources, particularly if weather conditions are similar to spring 2013, as expected. Demand next spring probably will not exceed 57,000 MW, ERCOT said, and nearly 73,000 MW of generation capacity is expected to be available. However, if summer-like conditions were to occur while a large portion of the generation fleet is off-line for maintenance and repairs in March or April, there could be a need to reduce system demand to maintain reliability, ERCOT said.

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