The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the electric power grid for most of Texas, released its summer forecast for how much demand customers will place on the grid this summer. Although the effects of El Niño on Texas will diminish over the next few months and a La Niña will usher in a dry fall, meteorologists say, ERCOT says it’s prepared for a hot summer.
“We expect to have enough generation available to serve consumer needs this summer, based on the current forecast,” said Warren Lasher, director of system planning, in a statement Tuesday. “However, hotter-than-normal weather combined with low-wind conditions or high generation outage rates could cause operating reserves to drop below target levels, making it necessary to take additional actions to maintain grid reliability.”
ERCOT said its seasonal forecast was based on peak demand during average weather patterns over the past 13 years.
“Although a transition away from El Niño adds some uncertainty to the summer forecast, we expect trends to mirror the average weather over the planning horizon,” said ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman.
The summer forecast calls for Texas power plants to generate 78,434 megawatts for a projected peak demand of 70,588 MW. ERCOT said this projection includes 680 MW of new natural gas-fired generators, 410 MW of new planned wind turbines, and another 7 MW of planned grid-level solar panels.
One megawatt is enough electricity to serve about 200 Texas homes during peak demand periods, typically late afternoons on hot summer days, ERCOT said.