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At 69,783 MW, ERCOT Breaks All-Time Hourly Peak Demand Record

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This summer’s heat wave has led to exceedingly high temperatures across Texas — and even higher electricity demand.

On Monday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — which manages three-fourths of the Lone Star State’s electricity grid — shattered its all-time hourly peak demand record, reaching 69,000 megawatts (MW) for the first time in the grid operator’s history. Electricity demand soared to 69,408 MW between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. and rose to a record high of 69,783 MW between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.

The new record came after a week of consistently high temperatures and electricity demand. ERCOT set new hourly demand records on back-to-back days last week — August 4th and 5th — topping the previous mark of 68,305 MW on August 3, 2011. The system also hit a new weekend peak demand record on Saturday, reaching 66,587 MW between 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Despite unprecedented pressure on the system, ERCOT successfully scaled demand, with operating reserves remaining above 3,000 MW throughout the entire spell.

How did the grid operator maintain its reserve margin?

Thanks, in part, to renewable energy resources. During Monday’s peak demand, wind generation contributed between 2,000 and 2,400 MW from more than 13,000 MW of installed capacity.

With temperatures expected to drop in the next week, peak demand is also expected to subside to more manageable levels. If you’re located in the ERCOT system, you can continue to monitor system conditions on the ERCOT website. To learn how innovative energy strategies are helping Texas meet electricity demand, check out our new solar partnership with H-E-B.

Posted: August 12, 2015