San Antonio Express-News Guest Column: Incentives needed to bring power generation to Texas

12/16/2011

Newsflash: Texas is in a drought, reservoirs are near all-time lows, and average temperatures are on the rise. But here is something new: Due to these factors, along with the lack of electric generating capacity, Texas is facing a near-term future with the possibility of rolling blackouts and strains on its transmission network.

The state's grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. (ERCOT) released two reports on the system's capacity and demand. One noted, “If extreme weather results in a significantly-higher than normal number of forced generation outages and high electrical demand, the ERCOT system could have insufficient resources available to serve that demand. This insufficiency would result in the need for rotating outages to maintain the integrity of the system as a whole.”

Translation: The grid serving most of Texas will not have enough electric generation to meet the demand. The ERCOT market is currently below the generation reserve margin requirement of 13.75 percent — and we will likely remain below that requirement for the next 10 years unless a number of contributing factors change. The generation reserve margin is the unused capacity we should have for emergencies and spikes in demand.

Excerpt from the San Antonio Express-News, Dec. 16, 2011. To view the full article, click here.

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