Continuing sub-freezing temperatures in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas region pushed the demand for electricity on Tuesday to a new winter record, with electric use peaking at 57,277 megawatts (MW) in the hour ending at 8 a.m., based on preliminary operations data.
There was sufficient generation available Monday evening and Tuesday morning to serve expected needs and maintain the desired level of operating reserves, even with demand exceeding Monday’s 55,487 MW morning peak and 56,031 MW evening peak. Peak demand in winter weather typically occurs between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.
ERCOT discontinued a Conservation Alert that began Monday, when high demand and sudden electric generation outages in the early morning hours caused operating reserves — the electricity available on the system in excess of what is currently being used — to drop below the 2,300 MW trigger for an Energy Emergency Alert.
“We appreciate the consumer response to our conservation request yesterday, as well as the steps generation and transmission companies in the ERCOT region have taken to prepare for today’s power needs,” said Dan Woodfin, director of System Operations.
ERCOT’s previous winter demand record of 57,265 MW was set on Feb. 10, 2011. The all-time record overall was set on Aug. 3, 2011, when demand peaked at 68,305 MW. One MW is enough power to serve about 200 homes during summer peak periods, which typically are about 10,000 MW higher than winter peaks, and about 500 homes during mild weather.