The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state’s bulk transmission grid, is reminding businesses and consumers that conservation is needed during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. as the record-high summer temperatures continue throughout the state.
"The peak demand forecast is close to 67,800 megawatts (MW) today, slightly lower than yesterday which is typical for the end of the week,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations. “The amount of generation unavailable due to forced outages and capacity de-ratings is also a little better -- about 4,800 MW, or 200 MW less than yesterday,” Saathoff said.
“However, there is still a strong possibility that a reduction in operating reserves could force us into a level 1 emergency and possibly a level 2 when we drop the interruptible loads,” Saathoff said.
During Thursday’s level 2 emergency procedures, approximately 1,500 MW of load resources and emergency interruptible load service was dropped, averting the need to implement rotating outages, the last stage of the emergency procedures.
“We’re again expecting about 1,300 to 1,400 MW of wind during the peak hour due to the high output from wind turbines in the coastal area,” he said. “About 70 percent of the wind generation yesterday during peak was from the coastal wind farms.”
ERCOT has set a new all-time peak demand three times this week. The current record is 68,294 MW, which occurred on Wednesday, Aug. 3, between 4-5 p.m. One megawatt of power is enough electricity to power about 200 homes in Texas during hot weather when air conditioners are running for long periods of time.
“We really appreciate the efforts of consumers and businesses all this week to reduce their electricity use during the peak hours,” Saathoff said. “We expect to continue calling for conservation next week and until the high temperatures subside.”
ERCOT: Wind power saves Texas from black-outs - so far