This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 22, 2002

North America Expected to Dodge Power Shortages this Summer

A report issued on May 15th by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) anticipates that the continent has enough generating capacity to avoid power shortages during the coming summer. But despite the generally rosy forecast, NERC's "2002 Summer Assessment" does point to two areas of concern: southern Nevada, which suffers from tight capacity margins, and southwestern Connecticut, which is limited by transmission constraints. Drought conditions are not expected to impact electric reliability. See the NERC press release (PDF 264 KB) or go directly to the full report (PDF 565 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

One potential wrench in the NERC projection, unfortunately, is hotter than expected weather. Currently, the Climate Prediction Center is calling for warmer than average temperatures in many parts of the United States. The Center is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). See the Center's Web site.

Indeed, U.S. temperatures in April were the 9th warmest on record, while global temperatures for April were the second warmest on record. On the positive side, the currently predicted El Nino event is expected to be only weak or moderate, developing slowly over the next six to nine months. As a result, the El Nino should result in "considerably weaker" global impacts than were experienced during the very strong El Nino during 1997 and 1998, according to the Climate Prediction Center.