(Reuters) – Power demand in Texas will likely hit new all-time highs next week as economic growth boosts overall use and homes and businesses crank up their air conditioners to escape another heat wave.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state’s power load, has said it has enough energy resources available to meet demand.
Extreme weather is a reminder of the February freeze in 2021 that left millions of Texans without power, water and heat for days during a deadly storm as ERCOT scrambled to prevent a grid collapse after an unusually large amount of generation shut.
AccuWeather said temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, will rise from the mid 80s degrees Fahrenheit (28.9 degrees Celsius) on Friday to the mid 90s F next week. That compares with a normal high of 93 F for this time of year.
ERCOT forecast power use would soar to 77,861 megawatts (MW) on July 6 and 78,532 MW on July 7, which would top the current all-time high of 76,592 MW on June 23.
To meet that demand, ERCOT has said it expects new wind and solar power plants added over the past year will increase resources available this summer to 91,392 MW.
One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.
Power prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, slid to $82 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Friday from $83 for Thursday. That compares with an average of $66 so far this year, $141 in 2021 and a five-year (2017-2021) of $56.
The average in 2021 was inflated by price spikes to $9,000 per MWh during the February freeze.
(Graphic: Texas power demand to soar to record high this year Texas power demand to soar to record high this year, https://graphics.reuters.com/TEXAS-POWER/ERCOT/gkplgzymyvb/chart.png)
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)