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ERCOT fails to hit new peakload record amid tame real-time power prices

Highlights

Wednesday's forecast lower by Thursday morning

Wind fleet a factor in muted pricing

Houston — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set an August record for peakload Wednesday and was forecast to surge past the all-time record Thursday. ERCOT failed to hit that record Thursday, but real-time prices were more robust than during Wednesday's record peakload.

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Meanwhile, as Texas bakes in temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, ERCOT forecast peakload to set a new all-time record for Friday, 73,650 MW, about 400 MW above the record of 73,259 MW set July 29, 2018.

ERCOT on Wednesday had forecast load to peak on Thursday at 73,620, which would have been a new record, but by Thursday morning, the day's peakload forecast had fallen to 72,189 MW.

As of about 4 pm CDT, real-time systemwide hub locational marginal prices were averaging about $106/MWh, after peaking at about $128/MWh as of about 2:45 pm CDT. As of about 4:15 pm CDT, load was leveling off at less than 72,300 MW.

Around 10 am Wednesday, ERCOT issued an Operating Condition Notice forecasting high temperatures to top 103 degrees for much of the ERCOT region Thursday through August 13.

On Wednesday evening, ERCOT issued a tweet that it had set an August peakload record at 73,092 MW between 4 pm and 5 pm CDT. But by that time, systemwide prices had collapsed from an average of about $83/MWh around 3 pm to an average of $41.45/MWh for the peakload hour. Prices had topped $90/MWh for three of ERCOT's four major hubs during the period around 3 pm CDT.

WIND CRASHES PRICES

The reason for the collapse was that wind power started ramping up. The huge ERCOT wind fleet produced at an average hourly rate of about 9.1 GW Wednesday, but it hit a low of 4.9 GW for the hour from noon to 1 pm CDT. By 4 pm, the output was 6.5 GW, and it was approaching 7.1 GW by 5 pm.

Real-time pricing hit more extreme levels Tuesday, as extreme heat caused a power demand surge, even as wind output fell below 2.2 GW, and real-time systemwide prices jumped past $100/MWh and stayed there for about 4.5 hours, averaging as high as $1,187.14/MWh for the 15 minutes ending at 4 pm CDT.

Around 5 am CDT Tuesday, ERCOT issued an Operating Condition Notice stating that it projected a reserve capacity shortage for the hours of noon through 6 pm CDT.

-- Mark Watson, markham.watson@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Rocco Canonica, newsdesk@spglobal.com