ERCOT expects generation capacity to be "tight" in the summer

Generation capacity for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is expected to be tight in the summer of 2012, according to a preliminary summer assessment released March 1.

The projected summer peak demand has been increased to 67,492 MW, up 1,297 MW than would be expected with “normal” summer temperatures, based on the Climate Prediction Center’s 40 percent chance of hotter-than-normal summer weather. The new forecast is 887 MW less than ERCOT’s all-time record-peak demand of 68,379 MW in August 2011.

“If we have a higher-than-normal amount of generation outages or if we experience record-breaking electricity demand because of extreme temperatures – like we had last summer – we may have to ask the utilities to initiate rotating outages to protect the grid from a statewide blackout,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of Grid Operations and System Planning. “Overall, we expect our reserves may get low enough to put us into the initial stages of our emergency procedures on some days, but not necessarily rotating outages.”

The ERCOT board also approved a process governing ERCOT’s use of emergency authority to recall idled units for capacity. Approximately 2,600 MW is currently mothballed, including 1,500 MW that could be returned to service with one to four months notice.

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