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

May 26, 2004

Electric Reliability Council: No Power Problems this Summer

The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) released its "2004 Summer Assessment" on May 12th, concluding that generating resources will be adequate to meet projected power demand in North America this summer. However, NERC warns that under conditions of high demand caused by extreme weather, high unit unavailability, or other factors, the areas of southwestern Connecticut, New York City, and Long Island might be susceptible to reliability problems. As previously noted in the May 12th edition of this newsletter, California could face similar challenges if adverse conditions arise. And although it doesn't hurt reliability, a lack of transmission lines in western Texas is hampering power exports from about 800 megawatts of wind power there. With only 400 megawatts of export ability, wind generation must be reduced "on an almost daily basis," says NERC, although several transmission line projects are currently underway to improve the situation.

To address last summer's blackout, NERC is conducting reliability readiness audits for all control areas and reliability coordinators in North America. NERC will complete audits of the twenty largest control areas by June 30th. NERC has also revised its operating policies to clarify reliability coordinator and control area functions, responsibilities, and authorities.

"NERC and the industry have taken a number of key steps to improve reliability in the wake of last summer's blackout," said Michael Gent, NERC President and CEO. "If all entities comply with NERC reliability standards, then there should be no uncontrolled blackouts."

See the NERC press release (PDF 44 KB) and the 442-KB "2004 Summer Assessment" (PDF 442 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.