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Severe drought could spell trouble for US power grid this summer – NERC

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The organization responsible for North American electrical reliability warned that energy shortages could be possible this summer in California, Texas and the US Midwest, where extreme heat from a severe drought could cause power plants to go down.

In 2021, numerous extreme weather events stressed the U.S. electrical grid, including the February freeze in Texas, which cut off millions of power after natural gas pipeline freezes, and record heat, drought and wildfires in the West.

In its summer outlook, the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) said the ongoing drought continues to reduce hydropower generation and cause wildfires in parts of the western US.

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NERC said the reduction in hydropower “puts the entire western US at risk from energy emergencies due to the limited supply of electricity available for transfer” in the event of a large area of ​​extreme heat.

In Texas, NERC said an increase in mostly wind and solar energy has improved the power situation since 2021.

But the group warned that the “combination of extreme peak demand, low wind, and high thermal generator failure rates can lead system operators to use emergency procedures, up to and including temporary manual load shedding.”

That means Texas could experience rotating blackouts again.

In the US Midwest, NERC said the ISO in the center of the continent is facing capacity shortages due to a projected increase in demand this summer coupled with a decline in available generation.

In the Missouri River basin, NERC warned that a drought could reduce the output of hydroelectric and thermal generators that use river water for cooling, potentially requiring utilities in the Southwest Power Pool to use emergency procedures during peak periods.

In Canada, NERC said Saskatchewan will face a capacity shortage this summer due to an expected increase in demand of more than 7.5% from 2021.

The US East Coast and the rest of Canada should have “enough resources” before the summer, NERC said.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Bernadette Baum)


This post Severe drought could spell trouble for US power grid this summer – NERC was original published at “https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/severe-drought-could-pose-problems-for-us-power-grid-this-summer-nerc”

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