Electricity Markets

New report shows tightening ERCOT reserve margins

A new Electric Reliability Council of Texas Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) report shows that the planning reserve margin for summer 2019 is forecasted to be 8.1% based on resource updates provided to ERCOT from generation developers.

This is 2.9% lower than what was initially reported in the May CDR, ERCOT said. The report shows reserves are expected to increase to 10.7% in 2020 and 12.2% in 2021.

The ERCOT CDR Report includes planning reserve margins for the next five years.

The anticipated decrease in power reserves for summer 2019 is primarily driven by a higher summer peak load forecast and delays and cancellations of planned generation projects.

ERCOT noted that significant oil and gas development in far West Texas continues to drive increasing electricity demand in Texas. The annual growth rate in peak demand in West Texas is forecasted to be around 8 percent through 2023, whereas ERCOT’s annual system-wide load growth rate is 2 percent during the same time.

The peak load forecast for summer 2019 is expected to be 74,853 MW, which is 651 MW higher than what was reported in the May CDR. ERCOT’s current system-wide peak demand record is 73,473 MW, set on July 19, 2018 between 4 and 5 p.m.

Since the May 2018 CDR report, three planned gas-fired projects totaling 1,763 MW and five wind projects totaling 1,069 MW have been canceled. Another 2,485 MW of gas, wind and solar projects have been delayed.

Resources totaling 1,714 MW have been approved by ERCOT for commercial operations since the May CDR and a total of 7,463 MW of installed capacity became eligible for inclusion in the CDR.

ERCOT’s next seasonal assessment of resource adequacy will be released in March 2019 and the mid-year CDR report will be released in May 2019.

The CDR report includes a look forward at all currently operational and planned resource capacity as reported to ERCOT by resource developers and owners. It provides annual projections of ERCOT’s planning reserve margins for the summer and winter seasons.