US Regulator Warns of Summer Blackouts: Will Missouri See Any?
Regulators are warning blackouts could hit a number of states this summer according to a report from Fox 2 Now. Is Missouri one of those states?
The Fox 2 Now report says the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment warns that blackouts could impact a variety of states this summer as a combination of drought, heat, potential cyber-attacks, geopolitical conflicts and supply chain problems could all disrupt our power supply.
In fact, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) report says Missouri and Kansas, served by the Southwest Power Pool, say the potential for insufficient operating reserves in above-normal conditions is elevated.
NERC's concern with the Southwest Power Pool has to do with energy output from thermal generators that use the Missouri River for cooling. If the River's water level is low, it can impact the energy output from the generators. Drought and conservation measures can also impact energy levels from hyrdo generators on the River. The bottom line according to NERC, "System operators could require emergency procedures to meet peak demand during periods of high generator unavailability. "
That said, Southwest Power Pool (SSP) anticipates sufficient energy to supply power to companies like Evergy for the duration of the summer. In a report that came out ahead of NERC's report last week SSP says:
For the season lasting June – September 2022, SPP anticipates that the demand for electricity will peak at 51.1 gigawatts (GW) and also studied scenarios with higher-than-expected demand. Its diverse fleet of member utilities’ conventional and renewable generating resources will be prepared to serve at least 55.5 GW, taking both planned and a margin of unplanned outages into consideration. SPP’s all-time peak demand for electricity was 51 GW, which occurred July 28, 2021.
In a press release, SSP Senior Vice President of Operations Bruce Rew says, “We work closely with our member utilities to make sure our forecasts are as dependable as they can be, and then maintain contingency plans and monitor the regional grid around the clock so we can respond quickly and effectively if things don’t go as planned. We know how much the 18 million people in our region depend on our services, and we do everything in our power to responsibly and economically keep the lights on.”
It certainly seems like SSP is certainly doing their best to make sure power companies like Evergy have the power to keep our power on. And NERC, looking at the global picture of the state of energy in North America is worrying about all the "what ifs" that could happen throughout the summer that could pitch parts of America into darkness.
Blackouts can happen. Unexpected events can happen. NERC's clanging on the pots and pans warning us about the state of our electrical infrastructure and how the unexpected could really mess with our power. SSP is looking at historical data, and other factors and believes they have it covered.
And at the end of the day neither can tell us when that severe thunderstorm with high winds will roll through and pull down power lines. Or when a squirrel will go to the great beyond after chewing on a high voltage wire that blows a transformer that puts a whole neighborhood into darkness for several hours. And those are a couple of the scenarios that are likely to play out this spring or summer.
The bottom line, be prepared for some kind of power outage. Have a plan to keep your family safe and cool if a blackout occurs. But, I don't think losing sleep over the state of our power grid is going to help or change anything.