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ERCOT’s energy usage up in August, gas top fuel source for power

By: Kassia Micek |

Energy consumption across the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grew year on year in August as gas continued to be the leading fuel source, according to data released by the grid operator.

ERCOT’s 2014 Demand and Energy by Month report shows net energy usage across the grid operator’s footprint totaled 35.9 million MWh in August, compared with 35.6 million MWh in August 2013, a 0.8% increase.

Natural gas’ share of the ERCOT fuel mix remained in the lead for August providing 48.5% of the power consumed, a jump from 44.6% in July and 47.6% in August 2013. Gas was the lead fuel source in 2013. Houston Ship Channel natural gas prices averaged $3.942/MMBtu in August, down from $4.020/MMBtu in July but up $3.415/MMBtu in August 2013.

Coal-fired facilities generated 33.8% of the energy needed in August, down from 36.5% in July and down from 35.3% in August 2013. Coal had begun the year as the lead fuel source in ERCOT before natural gas started taking over again.

Nuclear plants provided 10.4% of the electricity consumed in August, down slightly from 10.8% in August and even with 10.4% in August 2013.

Wind farms provided 6.3% of the energy needed in August, a drop from 7.1% in July but a gain from 5.2 % in August 2013.

Other sources provided 1% of August’s energy, slipping from 1.1% in July and 1.4% in August 2013.

National Weather Service data shows that Austin, which lies near the center of ERCOT’s footprint, had 1.84% less cooling-degree days in August than in 2013, but 4.9% more than a normal year.

ERCOT’s peak demand last month was 66,454 MW reached on August 25, a 1.1% decrease compared with the year-ago peak of 67,245 MW that occurred on August 7, 2013.