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ERCOT: A look back at the summer

By: Barbara Vergetis Lundin |

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recently took stock of its summer performance and although there were some bumps in the road (or grid, as the case may be) there are also positive outcomes to report.

During the blistering 2011 summer, ERCOT issued seven energy emergency alerts as temperatures and air conditioner use soared. In summer 2012, the grid has experienced no energy emergency alerts and only one control room watch, which occurred when operating reserves dropped below 2,500 MW after two large units tripped off-line.

One tool ERCOT added this summer to help address tight reserves was a 30-minute Emergency Response Service pilot in which residents will have 30 minutes to reduce electric use if called upon by ERCOT. Although the pilot brought in less than 20 MW of participation during its first contract period, it also attracted three new players to ERCOT’s demand response programs, including an aggregation of residential customers for the first time.