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Power Supply Remains Constrained
Long-term capacity margins for the U.S. electric grid are still inadequate, according to the recently released 2007 Long-Term Reliability Assessment.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) examines the reliability an adequacy of the bulk power system for the next 10 years in the annual report. NERC’s primary role in providing this assessment is to identify areas of concern regarding the reliability of the North American bulk power system, and to make recommendations for their remedy.
Among the report’s key findings:
- Long-term capacity margins are still inadequate. Though the gap has narrowed in many areas due to commitments to new supply-side and demand-side resources, projected increases in peak demands continue to exceed projected committed resources beyond the first few years of the ten-year planning horizon.
- High reliance on natural gas in some areas of the U.S. must be properly managed to reduce the risk of supply and delivery interruptions. Continued high levels of dependence on natural gas for electricity generation in Florida, Texas, the Northeast, and Southern California have increased the bulk power system’s exposure to interruptions in fuel supply and delivery.
- Integration of wind, solar and nuclear resources require special considerations in planning, design and operation. Transmission infrastructure must be developed to reliably integrate these resources, while maximizing their potential to meet resource requirements and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Transmission situation has improved, but more work is still required. Several key transmission projects were completed and more transmission additions are proposed than reported in last year’s assessment. Significant investment in transmission is still required in many areas of North America as projected transmission additions lag behind demand growth and new resource additions in most areas.