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ERCOT Says Plenty Of Electricity Available Through Winter

Neil Debbage presents at Think Science at the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theater on August 19, 2022.
Nathan Cone
Neil Debbage presents at Think Science at the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theater on August 19, 2022.

Texas is expected to have sufficient levels of stored power to serve peak demands this fall and winter. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas released its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy on Tuesday.

ERCOT found that its available generation, even under extreme load conditions, will be more than sufficient for the upcoming fall season starting in October, and sufficient for the winter season.

Director of System Planning Warren Lasher said the ongoing drought is a significant concern, but ERCOT does not expect it to impact reserves for the rest of this year.

"We have an independent assessment of water levels at reservoirs across the state, with an understanding of what the intake levels at the various plants are," Lasher said. "We also work with the water authorities to understand what their policies are going forward associated with their customers."

Lasher said varying weather patterns meant the grid performed well over the summer of 2013.

"The weather was fairly mild in the Houston region for sure," he said. "It was fairly hot in the Austin-San Antonio regions, but really when we hit those extreme peak loads is when we have a day that’s well over 100 in Dallas and San Antonio, and it’s over 100 in Houston all at the same time."

ERCOT began doing seasonal resource adequacy reports in 2011 when demand started outpacing production, creating tighter reserves and forcing some utilities to implement rolling outages so the grid could maintain service.

ERCOT said higher demand is the result of a number of factors, including population growth and a marked increase in industrial production throughout the state.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.