What appears to be a perfect storm is forming over the nation’s electricity supply.
This winter may be the first test, and what happens next summer and going forward has many in the industry voicing considerable alarm, including talk of a new energy crisis of indefinite duration.
Texas and California are expected to struggle this winter, as they did in the summer. NERC has named those two states as vulnerable.
These are the gathering elements of the storm:
- Organic growth in areas with burgeoning populations like Texas and the Intermountain West.
- Increasing electrification of transportation and industrial processes like steelmaking.
- An anticipated surge in server farms as AI attracts more and more users. This demand has been put at 100 percent in a decade, and some estimates are higher.
- Pressure post-COP28 to accelerate the closure of coal plants, which are still generating 19 percent of U.S. electricity.
- Greater difficulty from local regulators to site new natural gas turbines.
- Long lead times for new transmission, if that is even possible.
- New heat norms across the country, requiring more air conditioning and testing the grids — East, West and Texas — as never before.
- A greater reliance on intermittent renewable generation, and inadequate storage to harvest that power when not in actual demand.
The joker, of course, is the weather, the cold of winter and heat of summer.
USEA will held a virtual press briefing on this new era of energy crisis on Monday, December 11.
A panel of reporters who cover energy questioned a panel of experts on this critical subject. Journalist Llewellyn King is the briefing organizer and host. USEA President and CEO Mark Menezes welcomed the audience and share his expertise.
- Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
- Pablo Vegas, President & CEO, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
- Elliot Mainzer, President & CEO, California ISO
- Clinton Vince, Chair, U.S. Energy Practice, Dentons
- Duane Highley, CEO, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
- Rudy Garza, President & CEO, CPS Energy
- Ken Silverstein, Forbes
- Matthew Daly, Associated Press
- Jennifer Hiller, The Wall Street Journal
- Matt Chester, Energy Central