As temperatures fall, energy use in Texas rises. Winter demand for electricity can put extreme demands on the grid, but the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) predicts we’ll have plenty of power, based on two predictive forecasts.
The first report, a final assessment for the fall, and the second, a preliminary outlook for the winter, analyze weather patterns and sources of electrical power. Both conclude that Texas is in better shape than last year, with more than 2,100 new megawatts of power, and a cushion of more than 25,000 megawatts above anticipated peak demand. Even with power plants going offline for maintenance or failure, their estimated power reserves will range from 2,600 to 14,000 megawatts.
That’s a strong contrast to the winter of 2013-2014, when the extreme cold weather knocked out two power plants in North Texas and nearly caused rolling blackouts throughout the state.
Moreover, the additional power capacity, improved weatherization practices, anticipation of a milder winter and other key factors all point to an easier time for power providers and customers in upcoming months. Only time will tell if this forecasting is correct, but as we move into a new season, the future looks positive.