TEXAS - Officials with ERCOT issued a report Monday indicating there is sufficient generating capacity to serve peak demands this summer.
There are two important numbers in the report to keep track of. First, ERCOT is anticipating that power capacity will be around 91,392 megawatts. The other number is demand. While hitting a record, ERCOT predicts it will peak at just over 77,317 megawatts.
The assessment is encouraging, but it’s also important a major weather event could happen and consumers are still advised to be energy wise. The report comes as the "public utility commission" is seeking public comments on new ways to supply the grid.
Electric vehicles are essentially rolling power generation plants. Making them feed the grid is part of a concept called DER, which is short for Distributed Energy Resources.
"It can actually happen, and I think it will happen," said Energy analyst Doug Lewin.
Going small can fill a big need, according to Lewin.
"And if all of these batteries in all of these garages and all of these fleet vehicle parking lots all around the state are able to feed power back into the grid. When we're at peak, we'll have greater reliability and lower costs. And yes, the technology is there today to be able to do that," said Lewin.
Tesla owner Gabe Tag is interested in the idea. But he is not convinced electric vehicles could adequately feed the grid.
"So I think if as a battery pack from my house with the solar system going into my battery pack out to the city, that's no problem. I think with the car, it's a one way in to have a one way out. It would probably leave the thousands of Tesla owners or EV owners a little uneasy," said Tag.
Tag, who is a branch manager with Northpointe Bank, understands investing in the future is important. Tag said if he contributes power, the grid has to be limited, and there's one other matter.
"Compensation would certainly help to execute that plan. If there is a real vision behind it that is really going to help people, I think that would be number one," said Tag.
Working out those details is part of a request for comment by the public utility commission. The state agency also want to know how DER can also be applied to other things like energy efficient smart home appliances. The comment period ends on June 15.
"I think what we're looking at here is a PUC that is going, ‘hey, these challenges are really difficult. This is an all hands on deck kind of thing,’" said Lewin.
The ideas PUC wants to have are to include how to implement and market them. The agency also wants the plans to be done with in a 5-year period.