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Electric Reliability Council of Texas
News Release
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sufficient generation expected for winter and spring seasons

AUSTIN – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve systemwide forecasted peak demand for the upcoming winter and spring.

ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the upcoming winter season (December 2017 – February 2018) and its preliminary assessment for the spring season (March – May 2018).

The forecasted winter peak demand is expected to exceed 61,000 MW, well above the 59,650 MW winter record set in January 2017. It is unchanged from the preliminary winter forecast released in September 2017. The forecast is based on typical or expected weather conditions at the time of winter peak periods.

“While a mild winter is expected in the ERCOT region this winter, there could be some very cold periods, especially mid-winter,” said ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman.

The winter SARA includes the removal of several recently announced generation retirements, including some units that are still under review to determine whether they are needed for transmission system reliability. Those reviews will be completed by mid-December.

Of the announced retirements, ERCOT has removed 3,551 MW from anticipated resources in the winter SARA. This includes 1,200 MW that are still being studied to determine whether they will be needed for transmission reliability.

Another 1,208 MW of planned retirements remain in the winter SARA due to the fact that the units are planned to retire in mid-February and will therefore be available for most of the winter season.

Other significant capacity reductions include a long-term forced outage of a gas-fired plant in the Houston area, and delays in the projected in-service dates for two wind projects.

“Given these capacity reductions, ERCOT still expects to have sufficient systemwide operating reserves for the winter season,” said Pete Warnken, manager of Resource Adequacy. “Our studies show this would be the case even with a much higher-than-expected peak demand.”

Almost 81,000 MW of total resource capacity is expected to be available for peak demand this winter. Additional planned resources for the winter season include nearly 1,400 MW of new capacity, comprising mostly wind and solar projects. These renewable projects are expected to contribute 209 MW to the winter peak.

Based on expected spring peak weather conditions, the preliminary SARA report for spring 2018 anticipates a seasonal peak of more than 59,000 MW. The spring SARA also includes a range of scenarios, including the assumption that peak demand occurs during the height of the spring plant maintenance season in March and April, as opposed to a more common May peak.

At this time, ERCOT anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet systemwide demand under a range of extreme system conditions. The final spring SARA report will be released in early March 2018.

About the SARA

The SARA report is based on an assessment of generation availability and expected peak demand conditions at the time it was prepared. The assessment takes into account expected generation outages that typically occur during each season for routine maintenance, as well as a range of generation outage scenarios and weather conditions that could affect seasonal demand.

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