The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the operator of Texas’ power grid serving over 26 million customers, anticipates another scorching summer heatwave to trigger unprecedented electricity consumption.
As temperatures soar, households and businesses across the state are cranking up their air conditioners, putting immense strain on the grid.
ERCOT assures the public that it has sufficient resources to meet the surging demand, alleviating concerns raised by Texas residents following a disastrous storm in February 2021. During that time, millions of people endured days without power, water, and heat as ERCOT scrambled to avert a grid collapse caused by an unusually high number of generation outages.
Last summer, ERCOT set 11 peak demand records, and now they project that usage will surpass the current all-time high of 80,828 megawatts (MW) on four separate occasions over the next two weeks. The peak demand is estimated to reach 82,362 MW on Tuesday, 82,732 MW on Thursday, 83,843 MW on July 17, and 84,135 MW on July 18.
To put this into perspective, one megawatt can typically power around 1,000 homes in the United States on an average day, but during scorching Texas summers, it can only support approximately 200 homes.
Meteorologists at AccuWeather predict that Houston, the largest city in Texas, will experience temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) on Tuesday and from July 15 to 17, exceeding the usual high of 94 F for this time of year.
While day-ahead power prices for Tuesday remain below $100 per megawatt-hour (MWh), real-time prices experienced a significant spike, reaching over $3,400 during a few 15-minute intervals late on Monday, according to data from the ERCOT website.
The spot prices at the ERCOT North Hub, encompassing Dallas, have decreased to $34 per MWh for Tuesday, compared to approximately $41 for Monday. These figures deviate from the average of $33 seen thus far in 2023, $78 in 2022, and the five-year (2018-2022) average of $66.
The combination of scorching temperatures and record-breaking electricity demand places Texas on high alert as ERCOT strives to ensure the stability and reliability of the power grid during this challenging period.
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