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On-Going Coincident Peak Alert for ERCOT, for August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020


One final ERCOT 4CP update for the week (and probably for the month as well).

Each day this week, a new Coincident Peak (CP) for the month of August was established! This speaks to the strength of this heat wave and how its increasing intensity throughout the week. Without a lot of rain, there has been nothing to moderate the heat over the last few days, and it’s not over yet.

The high temperature in DFW is 106° today, and the heat index in Houston (which also accounts for the humidity) will approach a lovely 110° this afternoon. Many energy managers and load forecasters alike are worn out but today is yet another high-risk day for setting a new August CP. Fridays are rare 4CP days, but today is one of those tricky situations where the CP for the month may be set if enough energy managers elect not to curtail their electric load. This heat wave is locked in place and it will not budge until Sunday or Monday when a weak front moves through North Texas. One of our forecasting services assigns an 81% probability of setting the August CP this afternoon.

Here are some interesting stats:

  • The current August CP was established yesterday at 5:00 PM with 74.2 GW of electric load.
  • Today’s forecasted peak demand is expected to be 74.8 GW at 5:00 PM. This would be ERCOT's all-time peak demand (established August, 2019).  It is interesting to note that the state's power grid is being pushed to its limits in the middle of an economic recession.   
  • Approximately 1 GW of 4CP-focused voluntary load curtailments occurred yesterday. This is almost double the amount of voluntary curtailed load that was observed on 4CP days 5 years ago.

One item of concern is that the amount of wind generation today is expected to be less than any other day this week (see Figure 1).  This means that anyone exposed to real-time index prices in their electricity product structures will need to be on high alert as we get into the mid-afternoon hours. Last August, when wind generation dropped to the 3-4 GW range, real-time prices soared to the $9,000/MWh cap. It looks like ERCOT will test those levels today:

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Figure 1: Wind Power Production Forecast, from ercot.com

Figure 2 shows today's actual and forecasted electric load in ERCOT.  Notice how the green line (demand) is expected to exceed generating capacity (orange shaded area) by 3:00 PM this afternoon. The grid will need a little help this afternoon. Unexpected gusts of wind and/or more 4CP curtailments will be required to keep a lid on spot prices and avoid emergency demand response events this afternoon.

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Figure 2: Capacity and Demand Load, from ercot.com

Finally, Figure 3 shows this afternoon's forecast in Sweetwater, Texas, the self-proclaimed “wind energy capital of North America."  This forecast shows sweltering temperatures and barely a breeze. Stay tuned!

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Figure 3: Sweetwater, Texas Weather, from weather.gov

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Figure 4: Sweetwater, Texas, from aweablog.org

Reach out to your energy advisor or contact us for more details. 

Topics: Markets ERCOT

Written by 5

Founded in 2011, 5 comprises a team of energy innovators, commodity traders, analysts, engineers, and former energy supplier executives. Together, they serve a broad array of private and public sector clients throughout the United States and Mexico, providing strategic advice on energy-related matters including procurement, demand-side management, rate optimization, regulatory intervention, benchmarking, bill auditing, RFP management, sustainability planning services, renewable power, and distributed generation. With an eye on growth, 5 has initiated a number of strategic partnerships and acquisitions, including the 2019 acquisition of Luthin Associates. 5 has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S. for five consecutive years. The firm has also received numerous accolades and national awards for its corporate culture, leadership and innovation, including 5 consecutive years as a top 10 Best Company to Work for in Texas according to Texas Monthly Magazine.