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ERCOT issues hurricane watch for Harvey

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas activated a hurricane watch for Harvey Thursday, keeping the qualifying schedule entities on alert as Harvey nears.

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The grid operator expects Hurricane Harvey, which was currently in the Gulf of Mexico, to make landfall near the Corpus Christi area around 1 am CDT Saturday.

National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for portions of Southeast Texas Thursday and extended tropical storms and storm surge warnings issued Wednesday.

The purpose of the watch is to ask QSEs in the system to update their current operating plans and notify ERCOT of any generation/transmission issues as the hurricane hit the area, ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy said.

ERCOT anticipates the biggest risk to the grid is the loss of load in the area, and has required plants operators to adjust their operating plans once any issues arise, Searcy said.

Currently, ERCOT expects peakload to fall to 54.5 GW Friday from 60.6 GW Thursday, before averaging below 50 GW over the weekend and nearly 57 GW next week through August 31.

Real-time prices across all hubs topped over $60/MWh for 15-minute intervals ending 12:30 pm Thursday, while ERCOT North Hub real-time on-peak price fell more than $3 on the day, trading in the mid-$30s/MWh for Friday delivery on Intercontinental Exchange.

North Hub next-week on-peak packages traded higher in the $20s/MWh.

The grid operator issued an advisory for Harvey Thursday morning and an operating condition notice on Wednesday.

--Jeff Zhou,

--Edited by Derek Sands,