Get 40% Off
⚠ Earnings Alert! Which stocks are poised to surge?
See the stocks on our ProPicks radar. These strategies gained 19.7% year-to-date.
Unlock full list

Two-thirds of North America could face power shortages this winter -NERC

Published 11/08/2023, 02:21 PM
Updated 11/08/2023, 05:57 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A PIKE Energy crew makes repairs after ice storms and freezing rain in the south of Texas left thousands without power and turned roadways into ice rinks during an extreme cold weather period in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., February 2, 2023.  REU

(Reuters) -More than half of the U.S. and parts of Canada, home to around 180 million people, could fall short of electricity during extreme cold again this winter due to lacking natural gas infrastructure, the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) said on Wednesday.

In its 2023-24 winter outlook, the regulatory authority warned that prolonged, wide-area cold snaps threaten the reliability of bulk power generation and availability of fuel supplies for natural gas-fired generation.

"Recent extreme cold weather events have shown that energy delivery disruptions can have devastating consequences for electric and gas consumers in impacted areas," NERC said.

It put the U.S. Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and South, along with some Canadian provinces, at the highest risk for electricity supply shortages this winter.

Grid operators like Midcontinent ISO, PJM Interconnection, SERC Reliability Corp and Texas' ERCOT are vulnerable to generators going offline under extreme cold conditions, NERC said, adding that cold weather could also choke off gas pipelines in New England that has limited gas infrastructure.

"There is not enough natural gas pipeline and infrastructure to serve all the gas generation in certain big areas like PJM, MISO, New York, and New England," John Moura, NERC's director for reliability assessment and performance analysis, said during a media briefing.

NERC also found that load forecasting in winter is growing in complexity, and underestimating demand is a risk to reliability in extreme cold temperatures.

NERC, along with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on Tuesday urged lawmakers to fill a regulatory blind spot to maintain a reliable supply of gas during extreme cold that was highlighted by an inquiry into power outages during Winter Storm Elliott in December 2022.

During Elliott, both electric and gas systems in much of the eastern half of the U.S. experienced significant stress, resulting in unplanned generation losses, with around 90,500 megawatts out at the same time, the inquiry found.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A PIKE Energy crew makes repairs after ice storms and freezing rain in the south of Texas left thousands without power and turned roadways into ice rinks during an extreme cold weather period in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., February 2, 2023.  REUTERS/Kaylee Greenlee Beal/File Photo

Flows of gas into pipelines were reduced during Elliott, while demand for the fuel for heating and power generation increased, dramatically lowering line pressures. That gas system only narrowly avoided significant outages.

In New York City, Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) declared an emergency because it faced a system collapse that would have taken "many months" to restore service in the middle of the winter.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.