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ERCOT real-time power prices spike above $1,000/MWh

Houston — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint saw real-time prices jump to four-digit territory Tuesday as power demand rose above forecast levels and reserve capacity was expected to fall below acceptable levels.

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Prices spiked across the footprint as Houston Hub real-time power averaged more than $1,000/MWh for the two-hour period that ended at 2:30 pm CDT (1930 GMT), topping $2,000/MWh for the 15-minute interval ending 2:30 pm CDT, while prices at other hubs averaged about $250/MWh over the same period. Houston Hub on-peak real-time futures price for balance-of-the-day traded in the low $90s/MWh on Intercontinental Exchange, more than double Monday's settlement in the low $40s/MWh as 1,000 MW changed hands.

ERCOT load was around 53 GW for the hour ending 2 pm CDT, which was nearly flat to a Tuesday forecast, but above a day-ahead forecast calling for a peak near 47.3 GW.

However, the grid operator posted a notice early Tuesday morning that a reserve capacity shortage was expected for the hours ending 3 pm through 8 pm CDT, asking generators to update their schedules to ensure sufficient generation was available.

"Because our forecast showed tight conditions over peak hours, in spite of the fact that sufficient generation was available, the notice provided a signal to the market that more generation was needed for today's peak than was scheduled at that time. Currently, additional generation has been scheduled, and we do not anticipate reliability problems," ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy said in an email Tuesday afternoon.

High temperatures in Houston were forecast in the high 80s degree Fahrenheit, compared with Monday highs in the low 80s.

ERCOT expects the peakload on Tuesday to top 55 GW at 5 pm CDT, compared with a day-ahead forecast of 50 GW.

Related Commodities Spotlight podcast: Some US power prices higher than last year as summer approaches

--Jeff Zhou,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,