Summer Electric Grid Power Availability Predicted to Be Sufficient

Transmission Power Lines Sunset Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay
Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

According to the 2019 Summer Reliability Assessment by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), projected electric grid resources are at or above the levels needed to satisfy summer peak demand until anticipated weather conditions in most of the assessment areas.

Overall, the assessment concludes that planning reserve margins—a key metric that helps evaluate the potential for resource deficiencies—in most areas of North America indicate that bulk power system owners and operators can manage their reliability risk effectively.

However, as is the case every year, the risks to seasonal reliability include higher-than-expected generation or transmission outages and higher-than-expected electricity demand; though, according to the report, many areas have enough resources to serve even these extreme conditions.

"The landscape for summer 2019 looks similar to 2018 with more than enough anticipated resources and reserves to assure the reliable operation of the bulk power system in most assessment areas," said John Moura, NERC's director of reliability assessment and technical committees. "As the transformation of the resource mix continues, the real-time operation of the system in all seasons presents opportunities and challenges in managing assets with a diverse set of operating characteristics."

Areas of concern are "resource adequacy challenges" in Texas, as well as the fact that a combination of potential limits on natural gas supplies in Southern California and wildfire risk in Northern California increase the likelihood of grid emergency procedures this summer.

Related to wildfires in specific, the report notes, "In some areas, pre-season planning includes expanded public safety power shut-off programs in addition to maintenance and operational preparations."

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