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ERCOT projects Texas grid to withstand upcoming winter conditions

Texas’ electric grid is expected to hold up even better than initially expected in the upcoming, rainier-than-usual winter months , according to the agency that manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s grid.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is projecting to have more power capacity in reserve than originally anticipated thanks to more wind power coming online and a the return of seasonally mothballed power plants, ERCOT said Monday in its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy.

With more than 79,300 megawatts of generation resources available, ERCOT expects to have sufficient electricity for the anticipated peak demand of 57,400 MW this winter. One megawatt of demand is typically enough to power about 500 homes during mild weather conditions and about 200 homes during winter peak demand.

ERCOT projects Texas’ grid will maintain at least 4,500 megawatts of reserve power even in the most extreme peak demand and power station outage scenarios, which is an increase of nearly 1,100 megawatts from its initial Sept. 1 projection.

ERCOT Senior Meteorologist Chris Coleman said the pending El Niño weather event could be the strongest ever this winter, creating colder-than-usual winter conditions caused by more precipitation and cloud cover, rather than Arctic air. Such conditions would lead to colder-than-average late afternoons but relatively milder nights. There could be more freezing rain than usual. The El Niño system also could contribute to more wind power generated within the grid during the winter months, Coleman said.

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