10 Years in ERCOT

With power demand records falling in Texas we take a look at ERCOT data

10 Years in ERCOT
Photo by Andrey Metelev / Unsplash
With power usage in Texas breaking record after record, we take a look at 2022 YTD power generation in ERCOT versus the prior 9 years

It's HOT in Texas, but NOAA data suggests June 2018 was even hotter than June 2022

Regardless, hot weather combined with economic and population growth made June 2022 the highest power generation month in ERCOT history

July or August were the highest demand months in every other year of the analysis, suggesting things could get even more interesting on the Lone Star State power grid

It's Getting Hot in Here.....

Texans can appreciate the words of Nelly, because its getting hot in here.  Heat domes, global warming, La Nina or just a standard hot Texas summer, temperatures are higher than normal.

Cooling degree days were 19% higher than last year and 26% higher than normal in June 2022, but notably, lower than 2018.

What isn't lower is power demand.  Economic and population growth pushed June 2022 to the highest monthly demand in ERCOT history at 41.7 TWh.

YTD power generation in 2022 through June is even more striking, up 12% from last year, the prior record before this year.

Now for the punch line.  Despite June 2022 being the highest demand on record, June has never been the highest demand month in Texas in any of the prior nine years.  Quite the opposite, July and August typically show 11% higher demand on average than June in Texas.  

Records could continue to fall for weeks, creating additional stress on the grid.

Renewables:  The Cause or the Cure

Jordan versus Lebron.  Yankees versus Red Sox.  Texas versus Kansas City BBQ.  Left versus right.  Renewables versus fossil fuels.  All debates that will likely outlast all our lifetimes.  

Transmission congestion, fuel price volatility, increasingly extreme weather are all variables creating tighter reserve margins and a less reliable grid in Texas, but the debate often gets simplified to renewables versus fossil fuels.

One thing is certain.  Renewable capacity and generation has grown in Texas like nearly nowhere on earth.

Wind and solar generation in Texas represent 36% of total generation YTD 2022 through June, more than doubling share since 2016.  YTD power generation from these two sources is up a whopping 170% over the same timeframe (27 TWh to 73 TWh).

One thing is certain in the current political and social climate, this debate isn't ending anytime soon.