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ERCOT Requests Increase in Operating Reserves

High voltage Towers
High voltage Towers | Image by TimeStopper69

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced on Monday that it is asking to increase operating reserves to prepare for the upcoming winter months.

ERCOT stakeholders issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) that would add up to 3,000 MW to operations to prepare for the peak load season, according to a news release.

Peak load growth since last winter, recent and proposed retirements of dispatchable generation resources, and recent extreme winter weather events were all considered by stakeholders when determining the amount to be requested.

Still, Pablo Vegas, ERCOT president and CEO, noted the request was made out of caution and not with the expectation of extreme circumstances.

“Our request to procure capacity in advance of winter is part of our continued commitment to maintain grid reliability and resiliency,” he said. “ERCOT is not projecting energy emergency conditions this winter season, but we want to be prepared and ensure all available tools are readily available if needed.”

If conditions in the upcoming winter are comparable to last year during peak demand, the “probability level of entering into emergency conditions would be higher than ERCOT’s acceptable elevated-risk threshold,” according to a report from the Monthly Outlook for Resource Adequacy cited by the council.

If granted, the RFP would allow ERCOT to increase operating reserves from December 1, 2023, through February 29, 2024.

The request comes just weeks after a study by a third-party firm found that ERCOT’s most recent initiative may have created an artificial scarcity of supply and increased wholesale prices by roughly $8 million, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Potomac Economics, the firm that conducted the study, also concluded that prices may continue to rise moving forward.

ERCOT’s Contingency Reserve Service (ECRS) was initially launched in June and was supposed to provide additional energy during emergencies. However, it resulted in the need for standby energy to increase by nearly twice as much, depleting the available supply, according to The Dallas Express.

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