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ERCOT Board Examines Summer Power Usage, Makes Predictions for Fall

Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says that though the Texas electric grid saw new monthly peaks in June and July, the overall electric demand fell below last summer’s record-setting numbers. 

At the Board of Directors September meeting yesterday, directors were briefed on the summer’s power grid demand and peaks over the summer and made projections for fall and winter. 

This summer, ERCOT didn’t have to issue any energy emergence alerts (EEA)—which can result in rotating outages in order to prevent a power grid overload and statewide blackout. Last summer, ERCOT issued seven EEAs. Though this summer’s weather was hotter than the state’s 15-year average, it didn’t reach the sweltering levels achieved in 2011, so air conditioner use was somewhat lower.

The transmission system still experienced strain and congestion over the summer, leading to four transmission watches. ERCOT attributes the transmission issues to increased oil and gas production and exploration throughout West Texas leading to higher energy demand. The board voted to endorse the Regional Planning Group’s proposed $57 million in transmission improvements to boost transmission capacity in the Eagle Ford Shale area.

ERCOT projects that they will meet demands for electricity during the fall and winter, and that no energy emergency alerts will have to be issued during either season.   

But, Board Chair Craven Cowell said in a press release,"We shouldn’t let our guard down. We should continue working on resource adequacy."

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