Texas heat wave will test power grid early next week

(Reuters) – Texas’ power grid will be tested again early next week as another early spring heat wave blankets the state this weekend, prompting homes and businesses to turn on their air conditioners. of air.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid in most of the state, has said it expects to have enough electricity to meet demand.

AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston, Texas’s largest city, to reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius) on Monday before dipping to 90 degrees F for the rest of the week. That compares with a normal high of 86 F in the city at this time of year.

The extreme weather reminds Texans of the February 2021 freeze that left millions without power, water and heat for days during a deadly storm as ERCOT scrambled to prevent a grid collapse after an unusually large number of generation.

ERCOT’s projected power demand would peak at 71,152 megawatts (MW) on Monday, May 16.

That would break the current grid record for the month of May of 70,703 MW set earlier this week on May 9, but remain well below the state’s all-time peak of 74,820 MW in August 2019.

One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes in the US on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.

Overnight prices at the ERCOT North hub, which includes Dallas, rose to a six-month high of $195 per megawatt hour (MWh) on Friday.

Energy traders said ERCOT North prices for Monday traded around $220 per MWh.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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