SUMMARY ERCOT is predicting record-breaking peak usage this summer season (June – September 2018). The strong Texas economy continues to drive demand in the ERCOT Region, and the anticipated peak demand is expected to be more than 1,600 MW higher than the all-time peak demand record of 71,110 MW set in August 2016.
This anticipated record demand, combined with recent plant retirements and delaysin some planned resources, is expected to result in tight reserves that could trigger the need for ERCOT to deploy such resources as Ancillary Services and contracted Emergency Response Service capacity to maintain sufficient operating reserve levels. ERCOT may also request that Transmission and/or Distribution Service Providers (TDSPs) implement load control measures established through Standard Offer contracts with their customers. Based on the December 2017 Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report, there is approximately 2,300 MW of such additional capacity available to ERCOT for addressing reserve deficiency situations. ERCOT also anticipates further voluntary load reductions and an increase in power sold in the market by industrial facilities in response to higher power prices during peak demand.
This preliminary report includes a 72,974 MW summer peak load forecast based on normal weather for years 2002-2016 and an adjustment reflecting additional load from the Freeport Liquefied Natural Gas project that is currently under construction*. For this SARA report, the forecast was lowered by 218 MW due to a recently announced delay in the operations date for the first production unit of the LNG project. The total resource capacity available for the upcoming summer is 77,658 MW.
Planned capacity additions expected to be in service before the start of the summer season include 130 MW of gas-fired generation (based on summer ratings), 660 MW of wind with a summer peak capacity contribution of 92 MW, and 387 MW of solar with a summer peak capacity contribution of 291 MW.
The resource adequacy scenarios for this report include a unit outage forecast of 4,349 MW based on average seasonal historical outages for the last three summer seasons. ERCOT also includes a scenario combining the peak load forecast with an extremely low wind output of 798 MW.