Southwest Power Pool, the Little Rock power grid operator coordinating electric reliability for a 15-state region of middle America, is predicting it will have enough power generation capacity to meet summer peak demand this year.
The staff of the not-for-profit regional transmission organization discussed this summer’s needs at its 2023 Summer Seasonal Assessment on May 18.
The grid operator and market overseer holds the assessment each year to anticipate and mitigate threats during the hot days of June to September. The analysis weighs historical power use, predicts summer demand and factors in weather forecasts, the availability of wind power, and possible generation and transmission breakdowns.
SPP’s assessment anticipates normal conditions through the RTO’s footprint and computes a 99.5% probability that SPP will be able to meet peak demand. It found a 95% likelihood that SPP will meet peak loads even if electricity use surpasses forecasts by 5%.
“If extreme weather, unexpected outages or other circumstances affect the region, SPP has systems, tools and procedures ready to mitigate risks and maintain electric reliability,” the organization said in a news release.
The assessment examined scenarios in which SPP could call on power generation plants to commit to run earlier or more often than usual, delay planned outages and tap into available reserves in cases of a severe or long-lasting event. SPP is ready to coordinating importing energy from neighboring transmission systems, it said.
“Ensuring there is enough capacity available to meet the needs of our customers is our most important role as a regional transmission organization, reliability coordinator and balancing authority for our region,” said Bruce Rew, senior vice president of operations. “While our summer assessment didn’t raise any reliability concerns, we continue to plan for exceptional operational circumstances and work closely with our members to prepare for any possibility. We monitor the grid and make changes as necessary to responsibly and economically keep the lights on.”