Following an early-season heat wave searing parts of Texas in May, scorching hot weather returns with a vengeance early next week, resulting in power demand forecasts that are at levels not seen in a few years as households and businesses are expected to crank up their air conditioners.
Houston-based energy firm Criterion Research reports Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Texas' main grid operator, could see daily average power demand soar to 2019/20 highs on Monday as maximum temperatures across the state are likely to be in the low triple digits.
ERCOT's seven-day power load forecast for next week is extremely high for this early summer, with the ISO forecasting demand near 59.5 gigawatts on Monday. If that outlook materializes, it would be on par with the 2019/2020 highs in late July/August of those years. - Criterion Research
On the bright side, wind generation within Texas will be helping out during the peak of the heat, with ERCOT expecting wind output to reach 15 gigawatts on Monday and then 18-19 gigawatts after that. However, even that range for wind is below the highs of >20 gigawatts that we sometimes see for installed wind capacity. - Criterion Research
Regional fossil fuel generation will remain above 30 gigawatts through the current 7-day outlook, but the weak renewables showing for today (<10 gigawatts) should equate to very high fossil fuel use to close out this week. So it seems that the grid should have some spare fossil fuel capacity to leverage during the peak demand period. - Criterion Research
In terms of hourly/peak rate, Bloomberg says power usage on Monday could climb as high as 75 gigawatts, a record-high.
Weather models show maximum high temperatures across the state will rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend and then touch at least 100s degrees Fahrenheit between Monday and Tuesday. Maximum temps will decline to the high 80s by June 11 and make another run for triple digits by the 20th.
Texans should be prepared for grid strain and soaring power prices. Power grids in the westernmost states warned last month that power-generating capacity might struggle to keep up with demand amid threats of heat waves this summer, resulting in possible rolling blackouts.