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Texas' electric reserves for next summer a bit low

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm •  Published: December 10, 2012

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The future of the state's electricity supply is improving, but Texas still could struggle during next summer's peak demand, the agency that oversees most of the state's independent electric grid said Monday.

The peak demand for electricity is expected to grow less quickly than previously thought, ERCOT chief executive Trip Doggett said in a statement Monday. Several new plants also are expected to start providing electricity in 2014, 2015 and 2016, according to a new long-term outlook released by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.

But projected reserves for summer 2013 have decreased slightly, according to the report.

ERCOT is responsible for managing most of the state's electric grid, while private companies generate the electricity. Texas is the only state with an independent power grid.

ERCOT tries to maintain a 13.75 percent reserve margin in case demand spikes or a generator shuts down unexpectedly. But generation capacity has not kept up with growth — Texas' population is expected to nearly double in the coming decades — or with the demand during the hot Texas summers, cutting into ERCOT's reserves.

The agency said Monday it will have a reserve margin of 13.2 percent next summer, and by 2014, those reserves will drop to 10.9 percent, still below target but more than had been forecast.

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