North America will have sufficient generating capacity to meet anticipated electricity demand this summer, according to North American Electric Reliability Corp.'s (NERC) 2011 Summer Reliability Assessment.
Overall, the assessment shows that load in North America will rise by less than 1% over last year, while on-peak capacity is projected to rise by 3%. Report highlights include the following:
- Demand increases, reserve margins sufficient. Generating and transmitting resources are forecast to be adequate to meet project demand for the summer. Demand is expected to increase by approximately 10,000 MW to more than 851,000 MW in August, but reserve margins remain sufficient in both the U.S. and Canada.
- Drought conditions remain in portions of North America. The 2011 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Drought Forecast shows large sections of the southwestern U.S. experiencing drought conditions through August. While drought conditions do not have a direct correlation to the reliability of the bulk power system, extreme weather conditions can stress the system during peaking periods.
- Incremental growth of demand response. Several NERC regions project increases in demand-response activities. The PJM Interconnection has 2,419 MW of additional demand-response activities, compared with 2010. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which had no contractually interruptible demand response in 2010, projects a total of 370 MW in 2011.
- Operational flexibility required for unforeseen events. Overall operating conditions, including variable resources, appear adequate to address forecast conditions this summer. All areas have operational strategies and procedures in place to mitigate potential reliability impacts.