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ERCOT to have enough power this spring, summer: reports

Houston — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects to have sufficient capacity to cover peakload this spring and summer, under most expected demand and generation scenarios, according to reports released Wednesday.

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The grid operator's final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for March through May shows 82,490 MW of generation resources would be available to serve expected peak demand of 58,245 MW, while ERCOT's preliminary SARA for June through September shows 81,612 MW available to serve expected peak demand of 72,934 MW.

"In preparing our seasonal forecasts, we studied multiple scenarios to test the ERCOT system," said Warren Lasher, senior director of system planning. "Under the most extreme scenarios considered, there were adequate generation reserves to maintain reliability."

Under the most extreme circumstances this spring, with high demand and an extraordinary level of outages, ERCOT would still have 6,513 MW of capacity available for operating reserves.

The final spring SARA includes nearly 1,500 MW of new natural gas-fired, wind and solar generation that has become operational since the preliminary spring SARA was issued in December.

"We are expecting warmer-than-normal [weather] to continue in the ERCOT region this spring," said Chris Coleman, ERCOT senior meteorologist. "The rain forecast will be normal to above-normal for most of Texas and drought is not expected to be a concern for the vast majority of the ERCOT region through the spring season."

The summer's projected peak would represent a new all-time record, above the 71,110 MW record set August 11, 2016. If a summer similar to the 2011 heat wave coincided with typical forced and maintenance outages, ERCOT would have 1,487 MW of capacity available for operating reserves.

Also for the summer, if an extraordinarily low level of wind output -- 477 MW instead of the expected 3,512 MW -- occurred under expected weather conditions, ERCOT's reserve capacity would be 2,145 MW.

Another summer scenario included in the report would assume an extraordinarily high level of thermal generation outages -- 5,517 MW versus expected levels of 3,498 MW -- with expected wind generation and weather scenarios, ERCOT's reserve capacity would be 3,161 MW.

--Mark Watson,

--Edited by Valarie Jackson,