NERC’s 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment (SRA) identifies, assesses, and reports on areas of concern regarding the reliability of the North American BPS for the upcoming four-month summer season (June – September). In addition, the SRA presents peak electricity demand and supply changes and highlights any unique regional challenges or expected conditions that might affect the reliability of the BPS.
Midcontinent ISO – The risk of being unable to meet reserve requirements at peak demand is lower than in 2022 due to additional firm support. MISO is expected to have sufficient resources for peak demand, however wind generator performance during periods of high demand is a key factor in determining whether demand is sufficient or if the need for external supply assistance will be needed.
NPCC New England – Anticipated resources in New England are projected to be lower than in 2022 but are expected to remain sufficient for meeting operating reserve requirements at normal peak demand.
NPCC-Ontario - Planned nuclear outage for refurbishment have reduced the electricity supply resources serving the province. Additionally, load growth is contributing to a constrained transmission network during high-demand conditions that may not be able to deliver sufficient supply to the Windsor-Essex area in the southwest part of the province. Extreme demand can lead to reserve shortages and a need to seek non-firm inputs.
SERC Central - Compared to the summer of 2022, forecasted peak demand has risen by over 950 MW while growth in anticipated resources has been flat. Demand-side management or other operating mitigations can be expected for above-normal demand or high generator-outage conditions.
Southwest Power Pool (SPP) - Reserve margins have also fallen in SPP as a result of increasing peak demand and declining anticipated resources. Like MISO, the energy output of SPP’s wind generators during periods of high demand is a key factor in determining whether there is sufficient electricity supply on the system. SPP may face challenges in meeting extreme peak demand.
Texas (ERCOT) - The area is experiencing strong growth in both resources and forecasted demand. ERCOT added over 4 GW of new solar PV nameplate capacity to the ERCOT grid since 2022. Additionally, load reductions from dispatchable demand response programs have grown by over 18% to total 3,380 MW. ERCOT’s peak demand forecast has also risen by 6% as a result of economic growth.
Other Reliability Issues
- Stored supplies of natural gas and coal are at high levels, but the industry is monitoring for potential generator fuel delivery risks. Fuel supply and delivery infrastructure must be capable of meeting the ramp rates of natural-gas-fired generators as they balance the system when solar generation output declines.
- New environmental rules that restrict power plant emissions will limit the operation of coal-fired generators in 23 states, including Nevada, Utah, and several states in the Gulf Coast, mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. In states affected by the Good Neighbor Plan will likely meet tighter emissions restrictions primarily by limiting hours of operation in this first year of implementation rather than through adding emissions control equipment. RCs, BAs, and GOs will need to be vigilant for emissions rule constraints that affect generator dispatchability and the potential need for emission allowance trades or waivers to meet high demand or low resource conditions.
- Low inventories of replacement distribution transformers could slow restoration efforts following hurricanes and severe storms. The electric industry continues to face a shortage of distribution transformers as a result of production not keeping pace with demand.
- Winter precipitation is expected to improve the water supply for hydro generation in parts of the U.S. West, but low water levels on major reservoirs remain a concern for electricity generation. Significant amounts of rainfall and high elevation snow are expected to help replenish resources in California, however hydro facilities in the West remain at historic low levels, potentially limiting energy output.
- Unexpected tripping of wind and solar PV resources during grid disturbances continues to be a reliability concern.
To reduce the risk of electricity shortfalls on the BPS this summer, NERC recommends the following:
- RCs, BAs, and TOPs in the elevated risk areas identified previously in the key findings should take the following actions:
- Review seasonal operating plans and the protocols for communicating and resolving potential supply shortfalls in anticipation of potentially extreme demand levels
- Employ conservative generation and transmission outage coordination procedures commensurate with long-range weather forecasts to ensure adequate resource availability
- Engage state or provincial regulators and policymakers to prepare for efficient implementation of demand side management mechanisms called for in operating plans
- GOs with solar PV resources should implement recommendations in the inverter-based resource performance issues alert that NERC issued in March 2023.
- RCs, BAs, and GOs in states affected by the new Good Neighbor Plan should be familiar with its provisions for ensuring electric reliability and have protocols in place to act to preserve generation resources when necessary to support periods of high demand. State regulators and industry should have protocols in place at the start of summer for managing emergent requests.
If you need assistance with preparing your assessing and implementing these recommendations, please contact Nancy Walters. We offer a variety of services to assist clients with reliability monitoring that we can customize to your company needs. Contact us today.