June 24 (Reuters) – Power demand in Texas hit a new all-time high on Thursday and will likely break that record on Friday as economic growth boosts overall use and homes and businesses keep their air conditioners cranked up to cope with a lingering heat wave.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state’s power load, has said it has enough resources available to meet demand.
Extreme weather is a reminder of the February freeze in 2021 that left millions of Texans without power, water and heat for days during a deadly storm as ERCOT scrambled to prevent a grid collapse after an unusually large amount of generation shut.
AccuWeather said temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, hit 99 Fahrenheit (37.2 Celsius) on Thursday and forecast the mercury will keep reaching that level through Sunday before dropping to the upper 80s early next week. That compares with a normal high of 93 F for this time of year.
ERCOT said power use soared to a preliminary 76,592 megawatts (MW) on Thursday, topping the current all-time high of 76,566 MW set on June 20, and will reach a forecast 78,296 MW on Friday.
To meet that demand, ERCOT has said it expects new wind and solar power plants added over the past year will increase resources available this summer to 91,392 MW.
One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.
Despite record-setting demand, power prices at the ERCOT North Hub , which includes Dallas, slid to $112 per megawatt hour for Friday from a six-week high of $224 for Thursday. That compares with an average of $66 so far this year and $141 in 2021.