Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Climate Change

High Summer Heat Means ⅔ of North America at Risk of Energy Shortfalls

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

If temperatures spike this summer, parts of the United States could face electricity supply shortages as demand for cooling increases, according to analysis by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The latest summer reliability report from NERC warns that two-thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer during periods of extremely high electricity demand.

Risk of electricity supply shortfalls in summer 2023

Data source: North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment

In summer, electricity demand increases as temperatures rise and homes and businesses turn up the air conditioning to cope. Above-normal summer temperatures further push up demand and can reduce electricity supply if power plant outages or reduced output stem from heat-related issues. In addition, widespread heat waves can limit electricity transfers because the electricity is needed to meet local demand. The combination of higher electricity demand and reduced supply can cause energy shortfalls. NERC releases a comprehensive summer reliability report assessing the North American power system ahead of the summer months each year.

All 20 NERC assessment areas have adequate power resources to meet normal peak summer demand this year, according to NERC. However, certain assessment areas are at elevated risk of electricity supply shortages if confronted with more extreme summer conditions. These areas include the U.S. Western Interconnection, SPP, MISO, ERCOT, SERC-Central, and New England.

U.S. Western Interconnection. Resources in the U.S. Western Interconnection, which covers the western half of the country, are sufficient to support normal peak demand. However, widespread heat waves could put the area at elevated risk of energy supply shortfall because it relies on regional electricity transfers to meet peak demand as well as in the evening hours when solar power drops off. Parts of the Western Interconnection, especially California, host a large and growing share of generation from solar power.

SPP and MISO. SPP and MISO, which cover most of the central United States, are home to a significant amount of wind power. The intermittent nature of wind power (wind turbines only generate electricity if the wind is blowing, and how much electricity they generate depends on how windy it is) present operational challenges for grid operators. Wind output during periods of high electricity demand is a key factor in determining whether the system has sufficient electricity supply to maintain reliability in these areas. Low wind and high demand periods could result in energy emergencies.

ERCOT. Resources are adequate for normal peak summer demand in ERCOT, which covers most of Texas. However, there is a risk that dispatchable generation, such as generation from natural gas- or coal-fired power plants, in ERCOT may not be sufficient to meet electricity demand during an extreme heat wave with unusually low winds. Already in June ERCOT asked residents to voluntarily curb electricity use as a heatwave reached Texas. As in SPP and MISO, wind plays a significant role in ERCOT’s generation mix.

SERC-Central. The NERC assessment expects SERC-Central, an assessment area that includes all of Tennessee and parts of Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Kentucky, to have sufficient supply for normal peak summer demand. Utilities may deploy demand-side management—the planning, implementing, and monitoring activities designed to encourage consumers to modify their electricity usage—in cases of above-normal peak summer demand or high generator-outage conditions.

NPCC-New England. Although New England has less available capacity this summer than it had last summer, NERC projects that it still has sufficient capacity to meet normal peak summer demand. During more extreme demand or low resource conditions, operating procedures for obtaining emergency resources and electricity supplies from neighboring areas are likely to be needed.

You can find additional information on the possible challenges and opportunities facing the North American power grid this summer in NERC’s 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment.

Principal contributor: O. Nilay Manzagol

Article from U.S. EIA’s Today in Energy.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

-- the EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! Last spring, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO),...

Clean Power

Replacing the fossil-fueled energy supply with renewable energy requires unusual focus and substantial investment in the electricity sector.

Policy & Politics

Rather than implicate renewables, it shows that low prices drove utilities into the arms of gas power plants and away from coal and nuclear...

Policy & Politics

In November 2015, Jon Wellinghoff, former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, spoke to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission about the grid of...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.