July 30 (Reuters) - The Texas power grid operator lowered
its demand projection for Friday on forecasts for slightly less
Earlier in the day, the Electric Reliability Council of
Texas (ERCOT), which operates most of the state's grid,
projected power use would reach its highest level so far in 2021
on Friday as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners to
escape a lingering heat wave.
The United States has been beset by several extreme weather
events this year, including February's freeze in Texas that
knocked out power to millions and this summer's record heat in
the Pacific Northwest.
High temperatures in Dallas were expected to reach 100
degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) on Friday before easing to 93 F
on Monday, according to AccuWeather. The city's normal high is
97 F at this time of year.
ERCOT lowered it demand forecast for Friday to 72,343
megawatts (MW) from 73,260 MW earlier in the day.
That would fall short of the year's current high of 72,856
MW set on Monday. One megawatt can power around 200 homes in the
The extreme weather is a reminder to Texans of the February
freeze when millions were left without power, water and heat for
days during a deadly storm as ERCOT scrambled to prevent an
uncontrolled collapse of the grid after an unusually large
amount of generation shut down due to frozen natural gas pipes.
ERCOT said there was enough generation available to meet
current demand and operating conditions were normal.
That reduced demand forecast helped keep power prices low.
Real-time prices per megawatt hour (MWh) hovered around the $75
mark in mid-afternoon trade.
On-peak power at the ERCOT North hub <EL-PK-ERTN-SNL>, which
includes Dallas, has averaged $204/MWh so far in 2021 due
primarily to price spikes over $8,000 during the February
That compares with the 2020 average of $26/MWh.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Edmund Blair and Paul