August 22, 2011

Record temperatures in TX drive record electricity prices

Texas utilities had to pay $2.50 per kWh last week for peak power to handle the heat wave. If they had more solar power installed, they could have saved that premium because solar typically peaks when folks are turning on their AC. 

Sustained 100+ °F (38+ °C) daily high temperatures in Texas last week led to new electric power demand records three days in a row, reported the US Energy Information Administration. ERCOT, the electric system operator for most of Texas, set demand records Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday last week (1-3 August 2011), exceeding the prior record set 23 August 2010 by 2,518 megawatts (MW) (3.8%).

A scarcity of generating capacity sent wholesale prices to record levels. Peak hourly day-ahead prices climbed higher each day reaching $2.50 per kilowatt hour, more than 50 times the average daily on-peak wholesale prices in ERCOT for the first half of 2011, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Friday (5 August 2011).

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