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Summertime Blues: Is Your Region Ready for Power Outages?

May 21, 2023 Leave a comment DRI Admin

Recent years have seen the summer months accompanied by rolling blackouts and other energy shortfalls. This year, the risks may not be as extreme – but they will be more common.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has issued its 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment, warning that two thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer. The expected spike in extreme summer weather, combined with generator retirement and other supply capacity issues, means that while there are no high-risk areas, there will be a greater number of areas designated as “elevated risk.”

Among the key assessment issues:

  • The U.S. West, which is at elevated risk due to wide-area heat events that can drive above-normal demand and strain resources and the transmission network
  • The use of wind in the Middle U.S. (made up of the Southwest Power Pool, Midcontinent Independent Service Operator), which will be key to meeting normal summer peak demand levels
  • The risk of drought and extreme heat in Texas may challenge system resources and may result in emergency procedures, and
  • New England has lower available capacity than last year, resulting in a higher likelihood of system operators using emergency procedures to manage extreme demand conditions.

Beyond extreme weather risks, NERC recommends organizations in these regions prepare by:

  • Reviewing operating plans and protocols for resolving energy supply shortfalls
  • Employ conservative outage coordination procedures, and
  • Engage state or provincial regulators and policymakers to prepare for efficient implementation of demand side management mechanisms.

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