Monday, July 23, 2018

Texas Heat Leads to more ERCOT Demand Records

A Central Texas heat wave is leading to surging demand for electricity, helping ERCOT continue its streak of breaking demand records.

The Texas grid operator’s latest record came Friday when it reported 69,525 MW of demand between 4 and 5 p.m., the fifth time in July it exceeded last year’s mark of 67,469 MW.

ercot texas demand records

ERCOT operators monitor the Texas grid. | © RTO Insider

Temperatures in Austin, where ERCOT is headquartered, hit 105 F on Sunday, breaking a 60-year-old record for the date and marking the 13th straight day of triple-digit heat. Nearby San Antonio broke heat records Saturday and Sunday with temperature readings of 105 and 104 F, respectively. The previous records were set in 1950 and 1946, respectively.

On Saturday, ERCOT broke the weekend peak demand record by nearly 1,500 MW when it recorded a preliminary total of 68,413 MW between 4 and 5 p.m. — after hitting 67,728 MW in the previous hour.

And the ISO has set new monthly demand records for nine of the past 12 months, including the last four.

“The system has performed well so far this summer,” said ERCOT spokesperson Robbie Searcy. Unable to resist the use of a pun, she said, “We have kept up with monthly record demand in June and July, and blazed past the previous weekend record without any reliability concerns.”

ERCOT’s final resource adequacy seasonal assessment projected demand to peak this summer at 72.9 GW in August, above the all-time high of 71.1 GW set in August 2016.

Area heat indices have been as high as 109 F, but temperatures are expected to drop into the high 90s for much of this week.

— Tom Kleckner