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12/10/2012

ERCOT says 2013 summer reserve margin slightly lower than target

The state's biggest electricity grid said today that its forecast for the peak air conditioning season next summer should see total resources that are sufficient to meet demand but just shy of the organization's reserve margin -- the excess of estimated capacity over anticipated demand. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which serves about 85 percent of the state's demand, expects peak demand of nearly 68,000 megawatts, with demand-reduction programs lowering that to 65,952 megawatts. Generation and other resources are estimated at 75,950 megawatts. That produces a reserve margin of 10,000 megawatts, or 13.2 percent, compared to ERCOT's preferred margin of 13.75 percent. ERCOT said it used an updated economic outlook to estimate demand.

Looking ahead to summer 2014, ERCOT said its reserve margin could fall to 10.9 percent, but noted that three gas-fired generation facilities are scheduled to go into operation sometime in the third quarter of that year. They are not included in calculating the 2014 reserve margin, but if they were, they would raise the reserve margin to 13.6 percent that year.

-- Jim Fuquay

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