VIDEO: ERCOT seeks alternatives to Reliability Must-Run agreement

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ERCOT is seeking lower-cost, effective alternatives to an agreement it recently entered to keep a power generating unit in the Houston area operating to help maintain reliability of the electric grid.

In June, ERCOT entered into a reliability must-run (RMR) agreement with NRG Energy unit NRG Texas Power to keep the Greens Bayou Unit 5 available to support transmission system reliability in the Houston area, specifically on one high-voltage circuit (Singleton to Zenith), which could be subject to overloads during period of high electric demands in the area.

ERCOT expects completion of the Houston Import Project by summer 2018 will help solve these transmission concerns.

Under the current RMR agreement, the 371-MW generation unit must be available during summer months, beginning in July 2016 and continuing through June 2018. In turn, ERCOT must pay $3,185 per hour year-round to reserve this capacity.

Qualified scheduling entities representing providers of electric generation and demand response resources have until Aug. 24, to respond to a request for proposals. ERCOT will consider individual and aggregated options that can provide grid reliability benefits that are comparable to the RMR unit while providing cost savings.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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