NERC’s 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment warns that several parts of North America are at elevated or high risk of energy shortfalls this summer because of predicted above-normal temperatures and drought conditions over the western half of the United States and Canada. These above-average seasonal temperatures contribute to high peak demands as well as potential increases in forced outages for generation and some bulk power system equipment. While NERC’s risk scenario analysis shows adequate resources and energy for much of North America, the Western Interconnection, Texas, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and Saskatchewan are at “elevated risk” of energy emergencies during extreme conditions. Midcontinent ISO (MISO) is in the “high risk” category, facing capacity shortfalls in its north and central areas during both normal and extreme conditions due to generator retirements and increased demand. Additionally, at the start of the summer, MISO will be without a key transmission line connecting its northern and southern areas as restoration continues on a four-mile section of a 500 kV transmission line that was damaged by a tornado in December 2021. Extended drought conditions present varied threats to capacity and energy across the country. In the Western Interconnection, the widespread drought and below-normal snowpack has the potential to lead to lower than average output from hydro generators, threatening the availability of electricity for transfers throughout the Interconnection. In Texas, wide-area heat events coupled with drought can lead to higher than expected peak electricity demand and tighter reserve conditions. Meanwhile, as drought conditions continue over the Missouri River Basin, output from thermal generators that use the Missouri River for cooling in SPP may be affected in summer months. Low water levels in the river can impact generators that use once-through cooling and lead to reduced output capacity.
The assessment’s other key findings include:
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