Power demand in Texas broke the June record on Monday and Tuesday and will keep rising this week until it tops the all-time high as economic growth boosts usage and hot weather causes homes and businesses to crank up their air conditioners.
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, said it had enough resources available to meet forecast 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 the low 90s Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius) earlier this week to 102 F on Sunday. That compares with a normal high in the city of 91 F for this time of year.
ERCOT said demand rose to 72,386 MW on Monday and 72,785 MW on Tuesday, topping the prior June record of 70,257 MW in 2021.
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.
ERCOT forecast peak demand would hit 75,305 MW on Wednesday and 77,166 MW on Thursday, topping the grid’s all-time high of 74,820 MW set in August 2019.
Despite record demand, power prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, slid to $94 per megawatt hour for Wednesday from $99 for Tuesday.
ERCOT forecast continued 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 would increase resources available this summer to 91,392 MW.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Louise Heavens)