Extreme weather, low hydro threaten grid stability

NERC shortlists U.S. grid reliability risks this winter

Ahead of the winter peaking season, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has released its 2021-22 Winter Reliability Assessment of generation resources and transmission system adequacy.

"Extreme weather exacerbates the challenges of (the) transforming grid in really unique ways. And this transition we're seeing really requires the electric industry to reconsider how we plan and operate the system," commented John Moura, NERC's Director of Reliability Assessment and System Analysis.

map of Projected electricity reserve margin across the United States under extreme conditions, Winter 2022 | source North American Electric Reliability Corp.

Beyond California, western states are facing drought conditions which could reduce hydropower available for transfers between different parts of the country.

"There's not an immediate concern" for bulk power system reliability, added Mark Olson, NERC's Manager of Reliability Assessments. However, fuel availability for fossil-fired generators is being monitored. “Late-stage acquisitions (of supplies) this winter could be particularly challenging."