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Forecasts show ERCOT may need reserve power Thursday afternoon, as demand could reach all-time high

Shelby Webb, San Antonio Express-News  


    Jun. 23—Forecasts on ERCOT's website show the state's non-profit grid operator may need to dip into power reserves or implement emergency actions later this afternoon.

    ERCOT's current estimates show it may need to start pulling reserve power online by 3 p.m. and could continue to do so until shortly after 9 p.m.

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    Demand, driven by record temperatures and population growth, could reach an all-time system high of 77,895 megawatts by 5 p.m. That's slightly above the estimates ERCOT forecasters projected for all-time summer peak, which they expected to hit in August. The previous record for demand was set on Monday, with 75,080 megawatts being used.

    One megawatt is enough electricity to power about 200 homes on a hot summer day.

    ERCOT, overseen by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, has been operating in a more conservative manner in efforts to stave off tight grid conditions like might be seen later today. Its independent market monitor has estimated the grid manager has likely spent more than half a billion dollars through May buying more reserve power and changing its operations to bring more power online sooner in tight grid conditions.

    Those conservative operating measures could cost $1.5 billion this year, the market monitor estimated in testimony to a Texas House of Representatives committee on Wednesday.

    ERCOT officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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