Power and Renewables

Looking Back: ERCOT Summer 2023 Review


By: Rob Allerman and Manas Trivedi

Summer 2023 will long be remembered as not only one of hottest summers on record but for the extended period of heat throughout the summer. This was especially the case in August. In Houston and San Antonio, it was the hottest on record, but it was the second hottest on record for Austin (hottest was 2011) and it was the third hottest on record in Dallas (behind 1980 and 2011). In addition, the unprecedented and relentless load growth continues to put enormous pressure on the grid. In the early summer, wind, solar, and battery storage effectively stabilized the grid. However, by August and September, the availability of wind and solar resources declined, and utility-scale battery storage output proved insufficient in duration to cover extreme events, such as the EEA2 event Sept. 6. Prices were very high this summer especially later this summer. In this blog we’ll explore the high price events and the trends this summer. 

To get the detailed review, download the report here

Unprecedented Load Growth Since COVID-19

ERCOT faced a tremendous surge in load since early 2020. As you can see in the graphs below weather normalized load growth since 2019 levels in 2021 is approximately 13% on-peak and 15% off-peak.

Source: ERCOT Load

Off-peak load growth, likely from data centers, played a pivotal role. Despite a slight slowdown to 3%-4% load growth in 2023, the persistent strain on the power grid highlights the urgent need for strategic planning. 

Temperature/Load Analysis

Record-breaking temperatures in Summer 2023, notably in Houston and San Antonio, set the stage for an extraordinary energy demand scenario.

Source: NOAA Temperature Actuals

Our analysis reveals that peak load on ERCOT Four Coincident Peak days in August reached an unprecedented 85 GW for most of the month, surpassing records. The comparison with 2011 and 2022 underscores the urgency for new resources, including thermal peakers, to manage escalating peak loads.

Source: ERCOT Load

The graph below highlights the relentless heat measured in August as peak load was nearly 85 GW every day for the month of August. Notice how most summer there is a break in the heat highlighted by lower peak load at times, but this was not the case in 2023. 

Source: ERCOT Load

Wholesale Price Analysis 

Here we’re looking at the highest price days of ERCOT’s Summer 2023, finding the causes behind market price spikes. Notably, on June 20, demand responded to rising temperatures, reaching a peak hourly load of 79.2 GW. The price spikes Aug. 17, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6, reaching the $5K cap, were attributed to factors such as high load, underperformance of renewables and unexpected events. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for market participants and policymakers navigating the ERCOT power market and leveraging ERCOT forecasts. 

Source: ERCOT Market Data

Battery Discharge Behavior 

A deep-dive into battery discharge behavior during Summer 2023 revealed that during peak load hours between HE19-HE21, battery discharge spiked when net load was high and renewables were low. The hourly solar production peaked in August, influencing battery discharge. The statistics emphasize the need for longer-duration battery discharge technology, especially during extreme heat events and periods of high volatility in prices. 

Source: ERCOT Market Data

On Sept. 6, Batteries which were positioned to arrest some of the shortfall as renewable generation began to decline was dispatched more heavily earlier in the day. The capacity of the remaining batteries did not have the duration needed to successfully arrest the decline. This can be seen in the below chart between operating reserves vs battery discharge Sept. 6. 

Source: ERCOT Market Data


Texas endured one of the most brutal summers in 2023 after coming off 2022 another very hot summer. The power grid did not experience any blackouts, but it was very close. Continued unprecedented load growth and the need for longer duration battery discharge technology and thermal peakers will need to be on the forefront of planners as there appears to be no stopping load growth for the as the Texas economy continues to boom. The trends show renewables are plentiful early in the summer but wane later in the summer, particularly solar as the sun sets earlier in the day but load stays strong. 

Picture of Enverus


Energy’s most trusted SaaS platform — creating intelligent connections that uncover insights and opportunities to deliver extraordinary outcomes.

Subscribe to the Enverus Blog

A weekly update on the latest “no-fluff” insight and analysis of the energy industry.

Related Content

Enverus News Release - Going green with hydrogen
Energy Transition
ByAlex Nevokshonoff

This ETT covers a report that delves into the impact of policy frameworks propelling Europe's clean hydrogen evolution while scrutinizing the ramifications of potential shortfalls in meeting 2030 green hydrogen targets. With a focus on key regions and industries, the...

Trading and Risk
ByChris Griggs

In the fast-paced world of energy commodity trading, staying ahead demands more than just raw data. Insightful, actionable intelligence allows you to forecast, plan and respond to global market shifts confidently.

Energy Transition
ByAshmal Dawoodani

This ETT covers EIRs recent report reviewing advanced nuclear technologies.

Trading and Risk
ByAl Salazar

Al Salazar of Enverus Intelligence® Research predicts rising crude oil and natural gas prices, driven by market dynamics, OPEC discipline, and seasonal demand. Learn more about the bullish outlook for Brent crude and Henry Hub natural gas prices.

Oilfield Services Operators
ByJose Neto

In the pursuit of capital efficiency, operators strive to continually improve drilling and completion performance, especially in the challenging landscapes of Canada's unconventional plays.

Energy Transition
BySmayan Sharma

The Inflation Reduction Act spurred a surge of project announcements and developments on the molecules side of the energy transition, creating numerous opportunities for capital deployment.

Enverus Blog - 6 reasons to attend Enverus’ 2023 EVOLVE Conference
Analyst Takes
ByAndrew Dittmar

In a significant move reshaping the U.S. shale landscape, ConocoPhillips has agreed to purchase Marathon Oil for $22.5 billion, marking a shift towards multi-basin operations and promising a robust future for shareholders with enhanced capital returns and increased operational scale.

ByMac Graham

The oil and gas industry is no stranger to uncertainty. Producers contend with a myriad of challenges – everything from supply chain uncertainty, geopolitical shocks, ROI demands from investors and an unpredictable policy environment – so it’s no wonder a...

Energy Transition
ByKevin Kang

The anticipated end of a two-year reprieve on solar panel tariffs from China coincided with unexpected tariffs on other energy transition-related sectors.

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Sign up for our Blog

Register Today

Sign Up

Power Your Insights

Connect with an Expert

Access Product Tour

Speak to an Expert