The North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC), the organization responsible for the reliability of U.S. power grids, warned on Thursday that a large segment of North America is at risk of insufficient electricity supplies to handle this winter’s peak weather conditions.
NERC’s concerns stem from projections of higher peak demands, limitations to fuel supplies, constraints on natural gas infrastructure and other factors.
NERC’s warning came during a webcast of its 2022-2023 Winter Reliability Assessment.
In Texas, for example, where generators and fuel supplies are still threatened by the kind of extreme cold that caused rotating power outages in February 2021, NERC expects power demand to rise 7% this winter over last.
In New England, NERC cautioned that the oil stored at power generators was only at about 40% capacity. The risk of fuel not being available there is due in part to the combination of low oil stockpiles and record global demand for liquified natural gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to NERC.
NERC also warned that reserves have declined by 5% in the Midwest, making “energy emergencies” there “likely in extreme conditions.”