Most of North America has sufficient resources available to meet summer peak demands, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s (NERC) 2012 Summer Reliability Assessment. However, planning reserve margins in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) assessment area are projected to be below the NERC Reference Margin Level, the threshold by which resource adequacy is measured. In California, reserves are projected to be tight, but manageable, through the summer months.
Since summer 2011, capacity resources have grown across North America by approximately 12,310 MW, most notably within the SERC Reliability Corp. and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council areas. Compared to the 2011 projections, NERC-wide total peak demand forecast is 3,700 MW lower. The largest increase in peak demand is expected in ERCOT, where a 1.7 percent increase is projected.
“With continued growth in peak demand and only a small amount of new generation coming online, resource adequacy levels in ERCOT have fallen below targets,” said John Moura, manager of Reliability Assessment at NERC. “If ERCOT experiences stressed system conditions or record-breaking electricity demand due to extreme and prolonged high temperatures, system operators will most likely rely on demand response and emergency operating procedures, which may include initiating rotating outages to maintain the reliability of the interconnection.”
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