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05/01/2014

Texas summer power outlook improving, ERCOT says

New generation capacity expected to be available by August should mean adequate electricity supplies this summer, says the state's largest power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT issued its final summer outlook Thursday, saying this summer should be milder than the previous four years overall. ERCOT serves about 85 percent of the state's total electricity demand.

It estimates peak demand of about 68,100 megawatts, just below the record set Aug. 3, 2011, during that year's heat wave. The report estimates available resources of about 74,000 megawatts. But by Aug. 1 an additional 2,153 megawatts of capacity is expected to be available. "We may need to ask consumers to reduce electric use if we experience extremely hot weather or widespread unit outages during the early summer months," said Warren Lasher, ERCOT's director of system planning.

ERCOT also said it expects its reserve margin -- the amount of available capacity over forecast demand -- to remain just above its 13.75 percent target through  2017. It said it added two new power plants to its schedule since February -- a 299-megawatt wind farm expected to be in service in 2015, and a 703-megawatt gas-fired facility expected in 2016.

-- Jim Fuquay 

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