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ERCOT OKs 276 MW of generation – mostly solar – for commercial operation

Highlights

Another 435 MW of wind nearly online

2.3 GW inactive, 1.1 GW canceled

Houston — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas approved 276 MW of generation – mostly solar – for commercial operation in July, and another 435 MW of wind projects neared commercial operation, but 2.3 GW was deemed inactive, and another 1.1 GW was canceled, an August 4 report shows.

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ERCOT's Generation Interconnection Status Report shows 121.4 GW of generation projects in various stages of development, of which 18.7 GW have the requisite stability and interconnection studies completed and a signed interconnection agreement. Of that number, 8.5 GW is solar, 7.7 GW is wind, 1.5 GW is fueled by natural gas and 517 MW is some form of battery storage.

After the requisite studies and interconnection agreements have been executed, generation projects must go through an energization and synchronization process before they can be approved for commercial operation.

As of the end of July, one 180-MW solar project in Ector County in West Texas was approved for commercial operation, as well as a 96-MW gas-fired plant in Brazoria County south of Houston.

Next closest to commercial operation are wind projects totaling 236 MW, including a repower that reduced output by 7.2 GW, approved for synchronization, and wind projects totaling 199 MW that are approved for energization.

The "inactive" roster grew by 1.4 GW of wind projects, 590 MW of solar projects and two natural gas projects totaling 317 MW.

Developers canceled 752.1 MW of solar projects and 361 MW of battery storage.

'No surprises'

Manan Ahuja, S&P Global Platts Analytics senior director of North American power, said the latest GIS Report provided "no surprises," in either the commissioning or the cancellation totals.

As for the impact on August and September wholesale power prices, Ahuja noted in an August 4 email that the forward contracts had "already come down quite a bit recently due to the weaker (than expected) real-time prices in July and the milder start to August."

The inactive and cancellation totals in July's report are "par for the course," Ahuja said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic "has led to some delays but not many outright cancellations."

Beau Freyou, director of IVG Energy, a Houston-based energy brokerage, raised the specter of the economic slowdown as a factor in project delays.

"For renewable financing the typical tax credit buyers don't value the tax credits as highly due to the slower economy resulting in lower profits for them," Freyou said in an August 4 email. "This makes it tougher to fund renewable projects in the future."

ERCOT generation project status changes in July
Commercial operation approved
MW
Natural gas
96.0
Solar
180.0
Synchronization approved
Wind*
236.0
Energization approved
Wind
199.0
Deemed inactive
Natural gas
317.0
Solar
590.0
Wind
1,404.0
Canceled
Solar
752.1
Storage
361.0
*Includes repower that reduced capacity by 7.2 MW.
Source: Electric Reliability Council of Texas