May 18, 2022 - News

ERCOT expects record demand this summer

Illustration of a Texas-shaped power outlet
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the organization that manages the state's electricity grid, is predicting a record high demand for power this summer, according to a report released this week.

Why it matters: The Texas power grid supplies electricity to more than 25 million Texans. A failure during sweltering temperatures could be catastrophic, risking lives and all manner of business across the state.

  • ERCOT expects the state to have sufficient electricity "under normal conditions," according to the report.

Yes, but: The state has already seen abnormally high temperatures, which could soon reach triple digits.

Context: ERCOT told power generators this week that they would need to defer planned outages for maintenance for a second time this month to maintain power across the state. The warning of possible emergency conditions has been extended through Friday.

Flashback: Last week, ERCOT asked power plants to delay repairs ahead of the May heat wave. One of those plants was among the six that crashed Friday, per the Texas Tribune.

  • ERCOT asked Texans to turn up their thermostats to 78 degrees for the weekend and avoid using large appliances during the hottest hours of the day to reduce strain on the power grid.

By the numbers: ERCOT is forecasting a new record for peak demand in the summer at 77.3 gigawatts, according to the new report.

  • The previous record was 74.8 gigawatts, set in August 2019.
  • The report indicates energy supply will be at 91.3 gigawatts, roughly 18% more than forecasted peak demand.

What they're saying: "With unseasonably hot weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the power industry to make sure Texans have the power they need," the organization said in a statement.

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