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Wind power gains while coal falls in share of ERCOT fuel mix in March

Highlights

Wind generation made gains as coal-fired plants' share of the ElectricReliability Council of Texas generation mix dropped in March, according todata released Monday by the grid operator.

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ERCOT's 2013 Demand and Energy by Month report shows energy consumptionacross the grid operator's footprint totaled 23.25 million MWh in March,compared with 23.13 million MWh in March 2012, a 0.5% increase.

National Weather Service data shows that Austin, which lies near thecenter of ERCOT's footprint, had 34.35% more heating-degree days in Marchthan in the average year. The city also had 16.9% less cooling-degree daysthis March than the average year, and 49.48% less than in 2012.

Gas-fired plants provided 35.4% of the power consumed in ERCOT in March,a slight drop from 35.9% in February, according to the data. Houston ShipChannel natural gas prices averaged $3.766/MMBtu in March, starting the monthat $3.465/MMBtu and growing to end at $4.035/MMBtu.

Coal-fired facilities generated 36.8% of the energy needs in March, downfrom 38.7% in February. Nuclear plants provided 11.9% of the electricityconsumed in March, down slightly from 12% in February.

Wind farms provided 15.2% in March, a gain from 13% in February. Othersources provided 0.6% of March's energy, up from 0.4% in February.

ERCOT's peak demand in March was the 41,710 MW required on March 26, a2.1% decrease compared with peak demand of 42,611 MW seen in March 2012. Thatmonthly high took place on March 31, 2012.

--Kassia Micek, kassia_micek@platts.com
--Edited by Katharine Fraser, katharine_fraser@platts.com