HOUSTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Natural gas will continue to replace coal due to its competitive edge in prices, according to energy experts on Sunday.
Frank Felder, director of Center for Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy in Rutgers University's Energy Institute, told Xinhua that natural gas "has been, is and will continue to replace coal. Depending on how aggressive the Texas state renewable policy is, wind, then solar are also doing so."
As the price of natural gas maintains a competitive edge over coal for fueling power plants, three coal-fueled power plants have retired in the Texas so far this year.
However, Felder said the retirement of the three coal-fueled power plants would not lead to shortage of available electricity in the hot summer months.
"This does not mean there cannot be shortages, but unless there is a fundamental problem with the market, one would not expect there to be a problem," Felder said.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state' s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 570-plus generation units.
Felder said, "I do not follow ERCOT on a daily basis, but if plants are retiring due to low prices (for sale), it may suggest an overall surplus (of electricity)."
ERCOT has forecast the reserve margin during the 2018 summer peak season to be 9.3 percent with a forecast peak demand of under 73,000 megawatts with capacity of just over 78,000 megawatts. Last year it was 12.3 percent with 82,000 megawatts of capacity.