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ERCOT hit record power demand as temperatures soared into the triple digits for much of the Lonestar state.

On June 27th, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) hit record power demand as temperatures soared into the triple digits for much of the Lonestar state.* The grid operator faced its highest demand level to date of 80,828 MW from 6-7pm. Reuters cites that, “at the peak hour on Tuesday, wind and solar provided about 35% of the power in ERCOT versus 44% from gas, 14% from coal and 6% from nuclear.” With confidence in supply and demand, June 27th, 2023, was a much different story for the grid operator than July 13th, 2022, when demand threatened to meet supply.

Weather dependent renewable energy resources like solar and wind energy played a significant role in keeping the market participants comfortably online and AC units pumping out cool air. Renewable resources, particularly solar, will increasingly play a critical role in the state’s energy infrastructure. “The US Energy Information Administration estimates the Lone Star state will install more utility-scale solar capacity in 2023 than any other state, around 7.7 gigawatts this year alone and the federal energy administration expects the state to bring another 24.8 gigawatts of additional solar capacity online by the end of 2025. Together, that is enough to power over 10 million homes,” cited CNN Business News.

Climavision has developed forecasting solutions tailored specifically towards renewable energy resources, to be used by market participants in scenarios just like this, to understand what is happening where wind turbines sit in the atmosphere, and what value of solar irradiance is expected for the day.

*The record for energy demand on June 27th has since been broken multiple times over the course of July and August.

Last Year

On July 13th, 2022, ERCOT came dangerously close to surpassing the supply of energy that they had to issue a warning to residents and businesses to conserve power during the peak heat of the day. Only 12% of ERCOT’s wind energy was available from 3-4pm, further
setting the grid operator back. With ERCOT unprepared to handle the extreme heat, lastminute energy trades would have been costly, and the risk of rolling blackouts a threat to consumer confidence.

With better data in 2023, the grid operator was able to make confident, knowledgeable decisions to prevent the intersection of supply and demand and prevent steep financial losses.

GRO Forecast Model

Climavision’s proprietary GRO (Global Radio occultation and Observations) forecast model produces variables tailored to anticipated performance from renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind. Parameters include Cloud Coverage % and 80 Meter Hub Height Winds.

JUNE 13, 2023

On June 13th, two weeks before the new record was set, GRO called for triple digit heat across most of the state of Texas. In addition, GRO forecasted weak winds at 80 meters. The strongest sustained winds were forecasted to only reach 10 knots.

     

 

June 17, 2023

The same goes for June 17th, 10 days out from the record being set. While GRO called for slightly stronger winds at up to 15 knots, the forecast remained rather steady with much of Texas experiencing still conditions alongside triple digit heat.

         

Point Forecast System

Climavision’s Point Forecast System (PFS) produces a hyper localized forecast for specific grid points. Rather than forecasting for a general city, PFS can hone in on a location as specific as a wind or solar farm, increasing the clarity and accuracy of a forecast through high resolution.

Ten days in advance of the record, Climavision’s PFS called for upper 90s to triple digit heat throughout the Lonestar state. While GHI values were past their peak for the day, production was still steady.

       

        

At 21Z, GHI values were high, allowing ERCOT to produce plenty of solar energy.

Pricing

According to Evolution Markets, ERCOT North Day Ahead $/Mwhr pricing was predicted to spike in cost to over $400. However, with renewable energy resources pulling much of the energy grid’s weight, Real Time prices did not show much of a jump at all.

Image from Evolution Markets, via LinkedIn

 

Conclusion

Forecasting for renewable energy resources is key in determining how much energy is expected to be produced. On June 27th, ERCOT was able to know they would be in a comfortable zone with their supply and demand lines, with solar power pulling a lot of weight. Climavision’s GRO forecast model for a regional forecast, or the Point Forecast System (PFS) for specific locations, are essential tools for grid operators to anticipate load changes caused by temperature swings or inclement weather and imperative to running an efficient operation that meet customers’ growing energy demands.

Sources:
https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/wind-solar-help-texas-meet-record-power-demand-during-heat-wave-2023-06-30/
https://thetexan.news/ercot-grid-sets-new-demand-record-in-week-of-scorching-texas-heat/
https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/28/business/texas-renewable-energy-heat-wave-climate/index.html

 

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