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NETL Analysis Assesses the Resource Adequacy of the ERCOT Region of Texas for the Forthcoming Summer Season

A new National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) report shows that under certain scenarios grid operators in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) may be forced to utilize extraordinary measures to ensure the operation of the Texas power system this summer, including potential brownouts and load shedding. 

The study looks at the evolution of the ERCOT market across the last decade to provide an understanding of how the market arrived at its current condition. In addition, the study examines four scenarios and utilizes probabilistic dispatch analysis to assess the potential for resource adequacy and reliability concerns under those scenarios. The study finds that under three of the four scenarios, the region will see an increased risk for Energy Emergency Alerts and need for emergency operator actions to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity to the more than 25 million people served by ERCOT.  

NETL’s Peter Balash highlighted the importance of ensuring reliable power systems operation during the summer season given the current Coronavirus epidemic. 

“As the American people go about an altered day-to-day routine as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic, the last thing that should cause them concern is the security and availability of energy when they need it.” Balash said. “The Department of Energy and other government agencies continue to support the American people in this time of concern to ensure that essential and basic services continue to be delivered as expected. This report highlights one way in which the Department is monitoring and maintaining awareness of all critical sectors of the energy economy and the important role that fossil energy plays in providing energy security.”

The newly released report can be found at: https://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analysis/details?id=4687 

As noted in the report, should the ERCOT region experience higher than normal temperatures or wind pattern shifts away from peak, there is a risk to the system that emergency actions will be required.

NETL conducts a variety of energy analyses to identify and evaluate promising research and development opportunities to provide balanced solutions in support of economic sustainability and energy supply security, mitigation of carbon emissions and improved environmental performance. NETL-conducted studies require a multi-disciplinary approach to the assessment of large, complex energy systems encompassing energy production, distribution, and use. Strategic assessments and planning efforts also incorporate the evaluation of current status, near-term trends and futuristic scenarios.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory that produces technological solutions for America’s energy challenges. From developing creative innovations and efficient energy systems that make coal more competitive, to advancing technologies that enhance oil and natural gas extraction and transmission processes, NETL research is providing breakthroughs and discoveries that support domestic energy initiatives, stimulate a growing economy, and improve the health, safety, and security of all Americans. Highly skilled men and women at NETL’s sites in Albany, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; Houston, Texas; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania conduct a broad range of research activities that support DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.