Texas power grid overcomes problems to meet record June demand

Source: By Scott DiSavino, Reuters • Posted: Monday, June 28, 2021

June 25 (Reuters) – Peak electricity demand in Texas broke June’s record on Thursday and was expected to do so again on Friday, the power grid operator said, but there was no repeat of last week’s problems when a significant amount of generation was out of action.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid in most of the state, last week urged consumers to conserve energy to reduce stress and avoid outages as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners during a heatwave blanketing the U.S. Southwest.

Last week’s heatwave hit when ERCOT had an unusually large 11,000 megawatts (MW) of generation out of service, but prices and demand moderated through the rest of the week as power plants returned to service and consumers heeded the call to use less energy.

Peak demand rose to 69,957 MW on Thursday and was expected to reach 71,086 MW on Friday, ERCOT said, topping the prior June record of 69,943 MW on June 14. That compares with an all-time high of 74,820 MW in August 2019.

One megawatt powers around 200 homes on a summer day.

So far this week, ERCOT has operated under normal conditions and prices on Thursday remained below $100 per megawatt hour (MWh) whereas real-time prices on June 14 soared over $1,900/MWh for a couple of 15-minute intervals.

Last week’s events caused consumers to question whether ERCOT would be forced to impose rotating outages as it had during the brutal freeze in February. read more

ERCOT power prices averaged $26/MWh during the day in 2020.

If most power plants continue to operate, ERCOT should be able to meet this summer’s projected peak of 77,144 MW and still have enough reserves in case something unexpected goes wrong with generation or transmission lines.

ERCOT has said it expects to have about 86,862 MW of power supplies available this summer.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Alexander Smith