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Sep 2, 2014

New ERCOT Report Provides Details on Available Resources for Fall and Winter

From ERCOT – Austin, Texas – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid serving most of Texas, expects to have sufficient electricity available to keep up with peak demands this fall and the upcoming winter.

ERCOT today released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for fall and the preliminary outlook for the coming winter.

“We are going into fall with about 2,100 MW of new generation resources in the system that we didn’t have this time last year, and we expect that there will be sufficient generation available to serve a range of possible scenarios,” said Ken McIntyre, vice president of Grid Planning and Operations for ERCOT.

ERCOT’s fall assessment is based on a weather forecast that is consistent with average weather patterns, and planning scenarios include combinations of extremely high demand and forced outages at power plants.

“It appears we are likely to see a cooler fall season overall, with temperatures typically within the average range seen over the past 12 years,” ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman said. “We also are seeing strong indications of normal rainfall or even wetter than normal in some areas.”

With nearly 75,500 megawatts (MW) of generation available overall, ERCOT expects to be well-prepared for the anticipated peak demand of about 48,700 MW this fall. Electric generation providers typically schedule maintenance outages during fall and spring to prepare for more extreme weather — and the corresponding higher demand for power — that occurs during winter and summer. It is typical for more than 9,000 MW to be off-line for maintenance during fall, and unplanned power plant outages could range from the typical 3,400 MW to nearly 7,000 MW. Taking these factors into account, ERCOT expects reserves to range from about 2,600 MW, if peak demand is significantly higher than expected, to more than 14,000 MW under expected conditions.

ERCOT’s preliminary winter SARA, also released today, predicts sufficient generation, except potentially under the most severe demand and outage scenarios.

“Last winter’s extreme winter weather did prove challenging, both for generation resources and the transmission system,” McIntyre said. “Generation providers in the ERCOT region have continued to improve their weatherization practices, and we continue to evaluate possible impacts associated with fuel supply restrictions to generators, drought conditions and environmental regulatory changes.”

At 57,256 MW, peak demand in winter 2014 neared the winter record of 57,265 MW set in February 2011, and peak demand due to cold weather in early March was about 11,500 MW higher than the previous March record set in 2002.

The final winter SARA, currently scheduled for release Oct. 31, will reflect a more near-term weather forecast and any necessary updates associated with the factors identified in the preliminary report.

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NOTE: The Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy and Capacity, Demand and Reserves reports, along with other reports and studies associated with near-term and long-term resource adequacy in the ERCOT region, are now posted on ERCOT’s Resource Adequacy page at www.ercot.com/gridinfo/resource/index.html