(Reuters) – The Texas power grid operator on Friday forecast demand next week would reach its highest so far this year as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners to bring relief during another heatwave.
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 record heat this summer in the Pacific Northwest.
High temperatures in Dallas were expected to reach the upper 90s Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) every day from Aug. 7-17, according to AccuWeather. The city’s normal high is 97 F at this time of year.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates most of the state’s grid, projected power use will reach 72,884 megawatts (MW) on Aug. 9, 73,472 MW on Aug. 11 and 73,628 MW on Aug. 12.
Those peaks would top this year’s current high of 72,856 MW on July 26, but would fall short of the grid’s all-time August 2019 high of 74,820 MW. One megawatt can power around 200 homes on a hot summer day.
The February freeze left millions of Texans 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 due to freezing natural gas pipes and wind turbines.
On-peak power at the ERCOT North hub, which includes Dallas, traded around $44.50 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Friday.
That is well below the average of $199 per MWh seen so far in 2021 due primarily to price spikes over $8,000 during the freeze, but is above 2020’s average of $26 and the five-year (2016-2020) average of $33.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)