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ERCOT: No Winter Concerns, Spring Heat Could Mean Trouble

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There are some words of concern from officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). While the state has adequate resources to survive a cold winter and a hot spring, the long-term outlook is a bit different.

“We view the 2014-2015 timeframe as a timeframe when reserves look like they may be declining below what we consider to be our target reserve margin,” ERCOT spokesman Warren Lasher explained.

The Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) has the grid operator producing more than 74,200 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity to provide service that in the winter months should only peak at about 58,000 MW.

The predictions are based on anticipated climate conditions, but if there are cases of extreme weather customers may be negatively impacted.

“If we have a really hot snap in early April we may find ourselves in a position with still a lot of units on maintenance. We may need to have to call for some conservation from customers,” Lasher said.

To meet electricity needs ERCOT, the electric grid operator for most of Texas, has several new power plants under construction and three major natural gas units expected to come online in the second half of 2014.

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