ERCOT Talks Summer Energy Costs

ERCOT logo | Image by Hanson L

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas met to discuss how power generation has been going in the Lone Star State so far this year, with members of the organization touching on the costs necessary to supply Texas’ homes and businesses with power.

ERCOT’s leadership met on October 17 to discuss the grid operations this past summer and the associated costs necessary to maintain its stability.

The Texas power grid managed to survive the entirety of another Texas summer with record-breaking temperatures. Discussions at the meeting included topics like record demand and the alleged increase in use of renewable energy sources such as solar power and higher-capacity battery storage.

ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said during the meeting that power demand had surpassed 80,000 megawatts, a total of 49 times throughout the summer and dramatically more than the previous summer when it only surpassed the mark once, according to the Houston Chronicle. ERCOT’s new peak demand records website claims that the organization had set an all-time peak demand record of 85,464 MW on August 10.

Vegas said that the state has also seen an increase in the use of solar power and that due to increased reliance on this form of energy, concern about maintaining output is now focused on evening hours between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. after the sun has set in the upcoming winter months.

Board members then began questioning how maintaining the grid during the intense summer period affected affordability due to the allegedly necessary use of ancillary services. An analysis released in September alleged that the organization’s use of such services caused an $8 billion price hike by creating artificial scarcity.

Vegas said, however, that the use of ancillary services had only caused an increase of $567 million, noting that high temperatures sustained over the summer and economic growth had increased demand.

Carrie Bivens, director of the independent market monitor that drafted the September report, claimed that ERCOT still created undue costs to maintain the grid.

“It’s not actually buying more reliability,” said Bivens, per the Houston Chronicle. “In my opinion, I think we would have been just as reliable this summer without these excess ECRS [Contingency Reserve Service] megawatts.”

Representatives of ERCOT recently reported that the power grid and its energy suppliers are now ready for the winter season, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

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