New Report Says That Texas May Struggle To Meet Peak Electric Demand By 2013

Get ready for more rolling blackouts, because according to a grid reliability report, Texas won't have the juice to meet peak demands by 2013.

The study, authored by grid reliability enforcer North American Electric Reliability Corporation, says Texas operators may either bring old plants offline as they retrofit them to meet new pollution standards or shutter them entirely. They predict this will render ERCOT unable to meet peak demand. The report is troubling because, in terms of interconnectedness with other grids in the region, the Lone Star State decided to go it alone. We are an island, with no one to call for help.

"Additional retired generation will compound ERCOT's projected capacity deficit, worsening reliability issues in the region," the report says.

Translated: Because of our dependence on old gas-powered plants and particularly filthy coal plants, get ready for the outages we saw this summer, writ large. Compounding anemic supply is the ongoing drought and a strained water supply -- needed for cooling at coal-fired plants.

We've added more wind capacity, but the report downplays its ability to bridge the gap during peak summer months. When reached for comment, an ERCOT spokesperson declined, saying they hadn't had sufficient time to review the report. This Thursday, ERCOT will be releasing its 2011-'12 winter assessment report, along with its 10-year report on capacity and demand outlook.

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