Power demand in Texas will likely break records on Friday and Monday as economic growth boosts usage and homes and businesses keep air conditioners cranked up to escape a lingering heatwave.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state’s power load, has said it has enough resources available to meet demand.
Extreme weather reminds Texans of the 2021 February freeze that left millions without power, water and heat for days during a deadly storm as ERCOT scrambled to prevent a grid collapse after an unusually large amount of generation was shut.
AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, would rise from 98 Fahrenheit (36.7 Celsius) on Friday to 99 F on Saturday and Sunday before sliding to 95 F on Monday. That compares with a normal high in the city of 91 F for this time of year.
After topping the June record on Tuesday when peak demand hit 72,785 megawatts (MW), ERCOT forecast usage would rise to 76,065 MW on Friday and 76,143 MW on Monday.
That would break the grid’s all-time high of 74,820 MW set in August 2019.
One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.
Power prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, rose to a four-week high of $141 per megawatt hour for Friday from $106 for Thursday. That compares with an average of $62 so far this year.
ERCOT forecast economic growth would boost peak demand to 77,317 MW this summer. The grid expects new wind and solar power plants added over the past year will increase resources available this summer to 91,392 MW.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Mark Heinrich)