Most regions have the resources to easily meet electricity demands this summer

Published on July 09, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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In its 2020 Summer Reliability Assessment, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) indicates that there are enough resources to easily meet this summer’s projected peak electricity demand in most parts of the country.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has the smallest anticipated reserve margin. However, according to NERC, the remaining regions exceed a 20 percent anticipated reserve margin.

The anticipated reserve margin considers the amount of resources needed to meet net internal electricity demand. A reserve margin of 15 percent means that 15 percent of a region’s electric generating capacity would be available as a buffer in case of unexpected changes in the summer’s peak hourly load.

ERCOT usually has one of the smallest anticipated reserve margins in the country, which means it may have relatively little unused electric generating capacity during times of peak electric load. However, after adding more than 1.9 gigawatts (GW) of on-peak resource capacity, ERCOT’s anticipated reserve margin has gone up from 8.5 percent last summer to 12.9 percent for the upcoming summer. This is below the 20 percent threshold, but still a pretty decent margin.

ERCOT’s summer assessment also assumes the ability to import up to 817 megawatts (MW) from the neighboring Southwest Power Pool (SPP) during its summer peak load hours. Further, its assessment assumes no COVID-19-related delays occurred for projects that were expected to come online before this summer.