Which areas of US could face electricity supply issues this summer?

risk of electricity supply shortfalls this summer, according to NERC's summer reliability assessment


With a heat wave already hitting parts of the U.S., a new national study warns parts of the nation could be at risk for electricity supply shortages if electricity demand peaks are higher than expected, or if less electricity is generated than expecting.

The warnng comes from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) 2024 Summer Reliability Assessment.

Under normal summer demand conditions, NERC expects the continental United States to have adequate power resources this year.

No areas of the United States evaluated by NERC were considered high risk this summer, a category that means an area is at risk of outages during normal summer conditions. Oklahoma is in a “low risk” area as the NERC map indicated. The state is part of the Southwest Power Pool which reported last week it does not anticipated any major electricity supply problems this summer.

Electricity demand increases as temperatures rise and homes and businesses use more air conditioning. Higher-than-normal summer temperatures can affect reliability two ways: by increasing electricity demand for air conditioning and by increasing the risk of power plant outages and reduced output from heat-related issues.

In addition, widespread heat waves can limit the typical movement of electricity because it is needed to meet increased local demand. Transmission can be limited due to the risk of overheating, natural disasters (such as wildfires), and insufficient capacity to carry energy where it needs to go. NERC also highlighted concerns over having enough resources to meet peaks in demand in recent years as baseload generation retirements have increased and variable resources such as solar and wind that have a less stable generation pattern are replacing other power plants.

Certain regions NERC assessed are at elevated risk of electricity supply shortages, which means that these areas could face electricity supply shortfalls during periods of more extreme summer conditions. These areas include parts of California, the Southwest, the Midwest, Texas, and New England.

Source: EIA release