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Reserve Margin & Energy Reliability in Central U.S.

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In the MISO balancing authority, tight reserve margins are threatening to lead to a power shortage. As responsible entities, balancing authorities form partnerships with utility companies and provide funding. This is for electric generation capacity in order to meet consumer demand. 

NERC is a nonprofit agency in the U.S. What does NERC do? Its purpose is to provide power reliability with the help of regional reliability entities. It publishes seasonal assessments for the United States and Canada each year, and this year’s assessment is coming out soon.

With 21.1% in reserve margin, MISO is likely to have available capacity for needed power. Yet a combination of higher demand or lower supply availability could create a risk for reliability.

MISO Report

MISO anticipates future reserve margin and power demands by analyzing average yearly demand and the most extreme conditions that could occur in 10 years. This analysis shows that one hour of electricity demand would reach 118.2 gigawatts in normal conditions, and 125.2 GW in extreme conditions. 

There will be 143 GW in summer, on the supply side. In the tenure of five years, MISO had a 6.7 GW average of maintenance outages and close to 14.4 GW of forced outages. There are some ways that can reduce the available capacity too in addition to planned maintenance and forced outage.

There have been supply shortages due to factors such as low wind and fuel shortages in the past five years. MISO has been able to counter some of these outages and derates by identifying 2.4 GW of capacity which it can use when necessary, leaving a total supply at 114.9 GW, less than the estimates for normal demand.

MISO promotes measures to address challenges consumers face due to the increase in demand for electricity and the decrease in reserve margin capacity. These include promoting new measures and investing in new power sources.

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