71ºF

ERCOT expects record energy demand this summer

Grid operator says infrastructure should be able to match demand

SAN ANTONIO – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas believes it will see another season of record peak demand for energy this summer.

ERCOT, which controls the electric grid for most of Texas, estimates it will see a peak demand of 72,934 MW this summer, beating out a record set last August of 71,110 MW. However, officials say the grid has the capacity to handle up to 81,860 MW, meaning the demand shouldn't affect consumers.

“If we have a severe heat wave, there could be a couple days where we have to call for conservation," said Warren Lasher, ERCOT's senior director of system planning.

The increased demand, Lasher said, comes from growth in industrial demand, more oil and gas extraction and people moving to Texas.

“Just with the added population, that does allow for those higher load peaks regardless of temperature," said Chris Coleman, ERCOT's senior meteorologist.

Coleman doesn't expect the summer to be a scorcher. It should be a "near-normal to slightly-above-normal summer" for temperature. Moisture levels should help out.

“A wet ground is much more difficult to heat up to those 105-, 110-degree extremes," Coleman said. "That’ll definitely limit the heat this summer in Texas."

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