Texas residents, who have begun to feel the consequences of a tight electricity market this summer that drove up wholesale energy prices, could get relief next year, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT predicts its reserve margin should climb 2% for summer 2020.
The reason for the optimism: ERCOT says new energy-generating facilities will be online. Most are renewable or small gas-fired generation plants.
During the worst of the heat wave, Texans faced calls for voluntary energy conservation. Wholesale prices for electricity jumped from $19 per megawatt hour to $9,000 per megawatt hour. That immediately affected residential customers whose rates were tied to the wholesale market. It has begun affecting other customers this fall.
In its December Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report, ERCOT says the new generation will bring capacity to 82,403 MW – 4.9 percent greater than last summer’s capacity. Reserve capacity is estimated at 10.6 percent in 2020, compared with about 8.6 percent last summer. As a result, power reserves are expected to be about 23 percent higher than last year.
“ERCOT maintained system reliability through record-setting electric demand and high temperatures this summer,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “We anticipate there will continue to be sufficient generation to meet Texas’ growing power needs.”