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Heat wave to break power records in Texas and central U.S. this week

These translations are done via Google Translate
Aug 21 (Reuters) – Power demand in Texas and other U.S. central states was on track hit record highs this week as homes and businesses crank up their air conditioning to escape another brutal heat wave moving slowly across the country.

Economic and population growth has boosted electricity use in Sun Belt states like Texas, and this increase is expected to drive overall U.S. power demand to record highs in 2024 and beyond.

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which oversees the grid in parts of 15 states from North Dakota to New Mexico, said it set an all-time high on Monday.

The grid expects to have enough generating capacity to meet the demand, SPP spokesperson Meghan Sever said in an email, adding that they had tools and procedures ready to “responsibly and economically keep the lights on”.

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, also said it has enough resources to meet soaring demand.

ERCOT forecast demand would reach 86,120 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, which would be the grid’s 11th all-time high so far this summer and top its current record of 85,435 MW set on Aug. 10.

Even over the weekend – when demand usually declines as many businesses shut – electricity use in ERCOT hit a preliminary estimate of 85,116 MW on Sunday, breaking the prior weekend record of 84,805 MW on Saturday.

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.


Scott Aaronson, senior vice president of security and preparedness at Edison Electric Institute (EEI), said companies were investing billions annually to meet growing demand as extreme weather becomes less uncommon and has a bigger impact on communities.

ERCOT issued a weather watch from Aug. 23 to 27 as higher temperatures forecast are expected to drive power usage.

AccuWeather meteorologists forecast temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, would reach at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) most days through Aug. 31. That compares with a normal high of 95 F for this time of year.

Despite this week’s forecast, next-day prices at the ERCOT North Hub , which includes Dallas, fell to $208 per megawatt hour for Monday, down from $343 for Friday. That compares with an average of $68 so far this year and a five-year (2018-2022) average of $66.

Other regions were also predicted to see record high usage.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which oversees the power system in parts of 15 U.S. states from Minnesota to Louisiana, projected that usage would reach 127,459 MW on Wednesday and 129,923 MW on Thursday. That would top MISO’s current record of 127,100 MW set in July 2011, according to the grid’s website.

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