Texas is Expecting Higher Reserve Margins Due to COVID-19

By May 15, 2020 News

ERCOT, the grid operator in Texas, recently released its final Summer 2020 Assessment of Resource Adequacy. This report, also referred to as the SARA report, is an assessment of the state’s ability to meet peak demand periods on the electricity grid. The SARA report looks at expected demand as well as available generation capacity taking into account normal outage rates and potential weather scenarios.

Citing COVID-19’s impact on electricity demand, ERCOT has revised down its expected summer peak from 76,696 MW to 75,200 MW. While a reduction in 1,496 MW (2%) may not seem like a meaningful decrease in demand, it is welcome relief for an already strained electrical grid.

Prior to the latest SARA report, ERCOT was forecasting a 10.6% reserve margin (the difference between peak generation capacity and peak demand). This is well below the 13.75% reserve margin normally targeted by ERCOT. Now, with the decrease in demand caused by COVID-19, ERCOT is forecasting a 12.6% reserve margin.  The full updated report from ERCOT can be found here.