A long-term analysis by a top regulator has highlighted a number of problems that could lead to more blackouts and supply shortages in the US electricity grid over the next decade.
According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a nonprofit organization that regularly monitors the grid and provides timely recommendations for increasing reliability, large areas of the U.S. are at or above the peak, according to its annual Long-Term Reliability Assessment (LTRA) report. The risk of impotence. The report says one big issue facing the grid is that utility companies are too quick to phase out existing fossil fuel power without ensuring adequate replacement sources are available.
“Parts of the North American bulk power system face resource capacity or power risks as of the summer of 2023,” the report said.
“Whereas capacity deficiencies are considered, most generator retirements have not yet been replaced,” he continued. “While some areas have sufficient capacity resources, energy constraints and unavailable generation in certain conditions (eg, low winds, high and prolonged cold weather) can result in an inability to meet all robust needs.”
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The LTRA report found that California and large parts of the Midwest and South are at risk of severe electricity shortages between 2023 and 2027. Texas, the Northeast, and the West are at high risk, meaning they could experience blackouts under severe conditions.
In addition to early retirement, the assessment found, the U.S. grid systems are vulnerable to extreme weather events and are not fully prepared for transportation, space heating and other sectors that can increase electricity demand.
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While NERC advocates transitioning the grid to cleaner energy sources like wind and solar, the group warns that not making the transition right could result in significant drops in reliability across the country.
“The two main themes that came out of our report this year are the ability to manage the pace of change and transition, and how new resources can provide sufficient power as they replace retiring generation services,” said John Mora, NERC’s Director of Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis. He told reporters on a media call on Thursday.
“In other words, we need to manage the pace of the changing resource mix to adequately plan and operate the bulk energy system,” he added.
As natural gas and coal generation retirements are expected to outpace green energy development, the LTRA report highlighted how the Midwest independent system operator, which dominates much of the Midwest, is leading the way for future shortfalls.
In another example, NERC concluded that natural gas pipeline transportation shortages in New England could create supply shortages in the coming years.
And the report warned that California’s power plant retirement could cause further problems.
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“There’s an additional 22 gigawatts of generation that could be retired in the next five years, and in many cases,” said Mark Olsen, NERC’s manager of reliability assessments.
“This underscores the importance of robust planning processes to manage retirement rates and prevent risk and maintain system reliability and essential reliable services that maintain system redundancy and stability,” Olson said.
Meanwhile, federal and state lawmakers have pushed policies to shift the grid from one dependent primarily on fossil fuels like natural gas and coal to one more dependent on clean energy like wind and solar power. At the same time, lawmakers have supported the expansion of electric vehicles, which will increase demand on the grid.
However, experts have warned that rushing such a transition can cause serious harm to consumers.
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Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee previously told Fox News Digital that “the Biden administration has pursued policies to aggressively move away from fossil fuel generation from the get-go.”
“I’m very excited about the energy transition and I believe there are huge benefits for the American people from the energy transition, but there are some people in the administration who are going to skip the transition part of the energy transition and walk away dramatically. There’s an important generation that we need.”