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ERCOT: Summer outlook is good, future uncertain

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TWC News: ERCOT: Summer outlook is good, future uncertain
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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas pulled back its curtains Wednesday, allowing YNN a sneak peek at its operations which keep the state in a steady supply of power.

With summer heat just a couple of weeks away, ERCOT says Texas is in better shape for this year than last, and that rolling brownouts should not be necessary. After that, however, things become worrisome.

"Looking to 2014 and 2015 we start to see a decline in available resources compared to this load growing in Texas,” ERCOT System Planning Director Warren Lasher said. “It's growing because of people moving to this state because of the strong economy."

The state agency is responsible for overseeing the electric grid upon which all Texans rely. In the winter of 2011 cold weather knocked more than 10 plants off line, leaving traffic lights and buildings in the dark.

“There were several plants that, in general, were designed to resist extreme cold, but there were one or two components that hadn't been protected," Lasher said.

When the demand for power looks like it’s about to exceed to supply, ERCOT will issue an emergency request for people to conserve.

"If folks are driving home and they hear on the radio, or they get home and they flip on the evening news and they find out ERCOT is in an emergency condition asking for help, we'd really appreciate it if they'd turn off any unnecessary load, turn up the thermostat a couple degrees to help us get through that peak period," senior analyst Paul Wattles said.

ERCOT said the conservation works. Last year, Texans cut back by up to 1,000 megawatts during energy emergencies, shaving more than one percent off the state's energy load.

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