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03/01/2013

Another tight summer for electricity, ERCOT says

Electricity supplies could be "very tight" this summer, the state's largest power grid predicted Friday. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said sufficient resources should be available to meet anticipated demand, but the forecast is also call for hotter and drier-than-average weather. "Current estimates indicate that we likely will see very tight conditions on the hottest days," said Kent Saathoff, vice president of grid operations and system planning for ERCOT. "There is a significant chance that ERCOT will need to issue Energy Emergency Alerts and appeal to consumers to reduce their energy use on some of those days."

ERCOT issued its final outlook for spring and a preliminary assessment for summer. "Although we expect to have more resources available for summer demands than we projected at this time in 2012, we also expect higher demand this year," Saathoff said. The preliminary summer assessment anticipates a peak demand of 67,998 megawatts (MW), based on a weather outlook similar to that of 2010 and a slower-growth economic outlook. ERCOT anticipates 73,708 MW of generation capacity before accounting for power plant outages, which typically total about 2,600 MW during an operating day. One MW can serve about 200 homes during peak demand periods. "This assessment counts wind power at 8.7 percent of its installed capacity, and ERCOT stakeholders are currently evaluating whether to recommend increasing that capacity value based on performance in recent years," ERCOT said. The final assessment for summer 2013 will be released in May

-- Jim Fuquay

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