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ERCOT going full speed as 100-degree days return

By: Nicholas Sakelaris |

The Texas electric grid finally got a workout Wednesday as temperatures passed 100 degrees and consumers used more than 64,000 megawatts of electricity, according to the latest numbers from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

The prediction for Thursday shows demand could peak at 65,566 megawatts, ERCOT reported. The grid operator expects to have enough reserve generation to meet demand today, said Robbie Searcy, an ERCOT spokeswoman.

These are the days power producers such as Dallas-based Luminant have been preparing for since February.

A few degrees in temperature make a big difference in electricity consumption.

Earlier this year ERCOT predicted that electricity supply would be tight this summer but so far, the grid has held up thanks to a wet summer. More than 2 inches of rain fell in July, ending the month about a tenth of an inch off the normal precipitation total, according to the National Weather Service.

The high temperature for Wednesday reached 101 degrees at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. As always, the peak came in the 5 p.m. hour with 64,773 megawatts of load, ERCOT reported.

Compare that to Monday when the high temperature was 98 degrees and the peak electricity demand was only 61,602 megawatts.

The load hasn’t reached 65,000 megawatts this year, Searcy said. In 2011 and 2012, ERCOT passed that mile stone on July 25 and June 25, respectively.

The all-time high for ERCOT was set Aug. 3, 2011 at 68,305 megawatts.
The forecast for Thursday shows a high of 101 degrees while Friday’s high could 103 degrees at D/FW Airport.