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09/04/2012

ERCOT expects plenty of power for fall and winter

The operator of the state's largest electricity grid said Tuesday that it expects power supplies to be more than adequate to meet demand, even with a forecast of colder-than-normal temperatures this fall and winter as a result of an El Nino weather condition. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which serves about 75 percent of the state, expects peak demand of about 53,000 megawatts in October and November, compared to total power resources of 74,500 megawatts. With routine outages ERCOT would still have a reserve margin of 12,700 megawatts, or as little as 3,300 megawatts if outages or temperatures are at extremes this fall. "“At this time, it appears we also will have sufficient generation to serve expected load patterns this winter,” said Warren Lasher, ERCOT's director of system planning. That should be the case even with Luminant Generation's planned mothballing of two coal-fired units at its Monticello power plant with a total of nearly 1,200 megawatts. Luminant said it expects to idle the units for six to seven months starting Dec. 1. It cited low wholesale power prices. Lasher said no other coal plant operators have told ERCOT of similar plans.

-- Jim Fuquay

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