Texas power use hits record for second straight day as heat wave lingers

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(Reuters) – Demand for power in Texas hit a record high on Tuesday for the second day in a row and the seventh time this summer as homes and business kept air conditioners cranked up to escape a lingering heat wave.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state’s power load, said it has enough resources available to meet soaring demand.

Energy analysts said more wind and solar power have helped ERCOT meet record demand so far this summer while also maintaining reliability and keeping prices relatively low. Temperatures in Houston, Texas’ biggest city, hit as high as 100.4 F (38 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, according to AccuWeather.

Texas residents have worried about extreme weather since a deadly storm in February 2021 left millions without power, water and heat for days as ERCOT struggled to prevent a grid collapse.

After setting 11 demand records last summer, ERCOT said usage hit a preliminary 83,593 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, which surpassed the all-time high of 83,047 MW on Monday.

At the peak hour on Monday, the grid got about 57% of its power supply from natural gas, 14% from solar, 14% from coal, 9% from wind and 6% from nuclear, according to federal energy data.

That compares with the peak hour during last year’s record on July 20, 2022 when 59% of the grid’s power came from gas, 15% from coal, 10% from solar, 9% from wind and 6% from nuclear.

Next-day or spot prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, fell to $69 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Tuesday from a two-week high of $250 for Monday. That compares with an average of $43 so far this year, $78 in 2022 and a five-year (2018-2022) average of $66.

In the real-time market, however, prices held between $1,000-$3,000 per MWh for almost two hours late on Monday, according to the ERCOT website.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino and Ashitha Shivaprasad; Editing by Leslie Adler, Grant McCool and David Gregorio)

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