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ERCOT's Winter 2020 Outlook

November 6, 2020

Market - ERCOT

Yesterday, November 5th, ERCOT released its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for the upcoming winter season. In summary, the grid operator expects to have plenty of power plant capacity available this winter. ERCOT expects winter peak demand to top out at 64.5 GW, just shy of the all-time winter peak demand record of 65.9 GWs*

In this report, ERCOT doesn’t address the big ice storm last week that forced ~10 GWs of wind plant capacity offline. But, ERCOT did model low wind output scenarios to “stress test” how the power grid would function under extreme cold weather conditions, and they don’t foresee any reliability issues in the short-term.

Finally, we'll leave you with some 2020 renewable energy factoids from the report: “ERCOT is on track to add the largest amount of new installed wind capacity in any given year (more than 5,000 MW), and utility-scale solar would more than double since the end of last year.” Figure 1 below shows the expected continued growth of the solar build-out in Texas. 

ERCOT Solar Additions.

Figure 1: ERCOT Solar Additions by Year (as of Sep 30, 2020) from ercot.com

* Achieved between 7 and 8 am on 1/17/18 during a major cold front.


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