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

October 16, 2002

Reliability Council: U.S. Power Supplies are Adequate to 2005

The United States has adequate power supplies to meet its electrical needs at least through 2005, according to the latest assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). The NERC report finds that projected generating capacity margins vary from region to region, but NERC does not anticipate capacity shortages in any of the U.S. regions. Although power plant developers have announced plans to install 260,000 megawatts of new generating capacity by 2005, NERC does not expect all of these plants to be built, although enough should be built to provide adequate generating capacity margins. The NERC report attempts to look ahead to 2011, but notes that shifting trends in power generation make such assessments difficult. Yet the report expresses confidence that the long-term power supply will continue to meet the nation's needs.

However, the report is much less confident about the U.S. transmission system's ability to deliver that power where it is needed, concluding that heavy transmission loadings and congestion will continue to occur, with system limitations expected to increase in some areas. According to the report, "the only way to remove these constraints is to increase the capability of the transmission system or build new generation close to the demand centers, removing the need for the electricity transfers in the first place." See the NERC press release (PDF 134 KB) and the full NERC report (PDF 418 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.