Pandemic could raise issues for summer load, NERC says in assessment
image credit: Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Jun 4, 2020 9:04 pm GMT
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NERC’s 2020 Summer Reliability Assessment finds that projected resources are at or above the levels needed to satisfy summer peak demand under anticipated weather in nearly all assessment areas.
The assessment said, however, that the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has led to heightened uncertainty in demand projections, has disrupted preparation (including preventative maintenance, supply stocking and training) for the summer peak operating season, and threatens the health and safety of critical industry workforce.
Anticipated reserve margins were based on pre-pandemic demand forecasts and anticipated resources. NERC said it indicate that the assessment areas are prepared to meet potential peak demand with or without pandemic-related demand reductions. NERC also said it did not identify any "specific threat or degradation" to the reliable operation of the bulk power system for the spring timeframe.
However, it said that the typical extensive pre-season preparation efforts by generator and transmission owners and operators "have been impinged" by the global pandemic, with many deferring or canceling pre-summer maintenance. Monitoring the progress of ongoing efforts to prepare staff and equipment for summer will be important to ensuring the availability of anticipated resources to meet electricity demand, NERC said.
NERC reports that as a result of millions of people staying at home, many areas are reporting more gradual and below-normal demand ramps during morning hours and lower evening demand.
Changes like these to longstanding patterns can affect the day-ahead demand forecasts that grid operators use as they work to ensure that enough power plants are available to meet expected demand for each hour of the day.