The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state's grid operator and manager of Texas' wholesale electric market, says it expects to use a variety of resources – including wind power – to meet anticipated electric demand this summer.
ERCOT says its generation outlook is improved by more than 2 GW of wind power, which tends to be available to the grid during the late afternoon, when it is needed most in the summer. Wind power generation in the ERCOT region continues to break records, and instantaneous wind power served nearly a quarter of ERCOT load twice in April.
Another 48 MW of commercial-scale solar power – including about 20 MW that went online this spring – also has been added to the grid.
In addition, ERCOT has nearly 2 GW of capacity that had been ‘mothballed,’ or taken offline for an indefinite period of time. Power-plant owners have decided to return those units to service, including about 430 MW of capacity that was not available last summer.
Summer projections also include about 1.5 GW of demand-response resources, which include energy users that reduce or drop their energy use at ERCOT's request if generation reserves drop below 1.7 GW.
Furthermore, ERCOT's Emergency Interruptible Load Service (EILS) program will change on June 1 to Emergency Response Service (ERS) and will add distributed generation to the resources ERCOT may call upon to help stabilize the grid during emergencies.
Through EILS, some users previously have provided about 400 MW of capacity during emergencies. Under the new ERS rules, smaller loads also will be able to respond to calls for additional capacity.
ERCOT expects to have a total of nearly 74 GW of generation resources available to serve summer needs. The grid operator's summer assessment assumes weather will be warmer and drier than the 15-year historical average, but less extreme than in 2011, based on information from the National Weather Service and Telvent, which provides weather forecasting data for the grid operator.