AUSTIN, Texas (KEYE) – After power demand nearly met supply Friday and threatened power outages, the ongoing heat wave is expected to test the Texas power grid again this week.
According to power demand forecasts by ERCOT, peak demand is expected to hit 71.3 GW at 5 p.m. Monday. This early May peak is not too far off from the all-time summer record demand of 74.8 GW set in August 2019. Monday's forecasts exceed the original May record peak demand.
After breaking a 106-year-old heat record over the weekend, Texas saw more extreme temperatures on Sunday and Monday.
That heat has already brought challenges to Austin Energy. On Sunday, the company had to cut power to about 3,600 South Austin customers because of a surge in demand.
"The circuits serving this area were experiencing high energy use and this action was taken to address that overload. These actions were not the result of an ERCOT mandate, but instead were necessary to safely operate Austin Energy's distribution system. Austin Energy restored service to affected customers through the early evening and all service was back online by approximately 7:30 p.m.," an Austin Energy spokesperson said in a statement.
Renewable energy is expected to carry a large share of the burden to meet demand Monday. At the peak, wind and solar energy are predicted to contribute almost 30 GW of energy to the power grid. Wind will be contributing most of this energy, but solar will spike during the afternoon hours when the sun is beating hardest on Texas.
ERCOT's dashboards indicate there will be more cushion between energy supply and demand on Monday than there was on Friday.
Then, supply and demand almost matched each other around 8 p.m. However, that demand was at less than 60 GW. This was due to the fact several power plants went offline to complete mandatory routine maintenance. ERCOT provided CBS Austin a statement saying they asked these plants to postpone maintenance.
Some plants are still offline because ERCOT sets a May 15 deadline to complete this maintenance, but not as many are compared to last week.
ERCOT provided CBS Austin the following statement Monday:
"ERCOT continues to forecast sufficient supply of power to meet demand as unseasonably high temperatures remain in place across much of Texas. ERCOT will continue to deploy all available tools to manage the grid reliably and coordinate closely with the Public Utility Commission, generation resource owners and transmission utilities to ensure they are also prepared."