News Release

December 01, 2015

New generation resources drive up projected ERCOT reserve margins through 2025

Future resource changes likely as environmental regulations finalized, implemented

AUSTIN, TX, Dec. 1, 2015 — The updated 10-year Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) report released today by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) shows a continuing rise in planning reserve margins in coming years, due primarily to the anticipated addition of more than 5,000 megawatts (MW) of new generation capacity by the summer of 2017 and another 4,300 MW the following year.

"We are seeing significant growth in planned resources to help meet growing electricity needs in the coming years," said Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. "While we currently are seeing planning reserve margins top 20 percent in the next several years, some of this growth could be offset by unit retirements as changing environmental rules begin to take effect."

The anticipated peak demand for electricity — forecast at more than 70,500 MW in summer 2016 and growing to nearly 78,000 MW by summer 2025 — also has increased from previous reports. The revised long-term load forecast continues to be based on a new forecasting methodology that was implemented in 2014. The update for this CDR is based on average weather over the past 13 years and includes additional electricity demand from the Freeport liquefied natural gas facility, which is under development on the Gulf Coast and is scheduled to be fully operational in summer 2019.

"Our updated load forecasting methodology has performed well," ERCOT Load Forecasting and Analysis Manager Calvin Opheim said. "By incorporating growth trends in customer accounts, or premises, to project future growth in electric demand for each region served by the ERCOT grid, we have been able to provide a more accurate look at future demand and energy use."

Of planned resources, about 6,250 MW have been added to the outlook since the previous report in early May, including nearly 1,600 MW of new natural gas-fired generation, 324 MW of storage, about 1,150 MW of utility-scale solar installations and almost 3,200 MW of new wind generation capacity. When adjusted for estimated summer peak availability, that new wind accounts for about 590 MW in the CDR. Wind in coastal regions counts at 55 percent of installed capacity during summer months, while wind resources in non-coastal areas count at 12 percent, based on historical availability during peak demand hours. As utility-scale solar generation grows, a similar methodology will be used to forecast anticipated output from these resources during peak demand conditions.

Generation resources included in the CDR are based on information provided to ERCOT by resource owners. This outlook could change based on new environmental regulations that are being implemented or have been proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other recent reports summarize potential impacts of additional unit retirements associated with the Clean Power Plan and the proposed Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan.

The next CDR update is scheduled for release in May 2016.


The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 650+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.