Power demand in Texas grows more slowly than forecasted

From StateImpact Texas, a joint effort of radio station KUT Austin and KUHF Houston, a report that consumption of electric power in Texas isn’t growing as fast as expected:

As the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) considers changing the electricity market so there’s more money to build new power plants, a mystery has popped up: why aren’t Texans using as much electricity as predicted?

“There’s something that’s been going on recently with the forecasts, which affects a lot of things,” said PUC commissioner Kenneth Anderson at the commission’s open meeting last week.

Who Turned the Lights Out?

Anderson said forecasts from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) had predicted electricity demand would increase in 2013 by 2.1 percent.

In reality?

“It’s been barely one percent, if it’s even hit one percent,” Anderson said.

As the story highlights, this is kind of a big deal. The Texas PUC is contemplating fairly substantive changes to the ERCOT power market design based on projections that power generation capability won’t grow fast enough to meet forecasted future demand. If the forecasts are overstating the problem, maybe regulators need not be quite so nervous.

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3 thoughts on “Power demand in Texas grows more slowly than forecasted

  1. Clicking through, it looks like it is just “peak” consumption that is only up 1%, and that a much larger share of consumers are taking advantage of demand pricing.

  2. @Douglas2 it’s only the peak that determines the quantity of capacity that needs to be built, though. While there are different measurements of peak that you could use, it’s always that high water mark that drives new builds.

    @Michael Giberson do you have any good links to discussions of proposed capacity market designs? I keep hearing rumblings, but haven’t seen anything very descriptive. Also, if you haven’t heard, seems like storm clouds are gathering over PJM’s capacity design. Been lots of people claiming that it doesn’t pay enough

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