On November 30, 2010, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released its 2010/2011 Winter Reliability Assessment (the “Assessment”) and the 2009/2010 Post-Winter Reliability Assessment.  NERC prepares an annual reliability assessment that demonstrates how the industry maintains the bulk power system for both summers and winters.  The 2010/2011 winter season is predicted to have average temperatures, but the February 2011 forecast shows above average precipitation and below average temperatures. 

Based on the Assessment, the operational challenges for the upcoming winter are not expected to affect reliability.  Also, all of the NERC regions are expected to have enough Planning Reserve Margins to meet the season’s peak demand, and the monthly Anticipated Planning Reserve Margins for this year will be lower in several regions.  The reason for the lower monthly margins in those regions is due to the slight economic recovery that has created a small increase in demand by 0.6 percent. 

However, the overall non-coincident Anticipated Planning Reserve Margin is expected to increase from 32.5 percent to 47 percent.  The Southwest Power Pool region will show the strongest growth in this area.  The entire system, across all eight NERC regions, is expected to see non-coincident peak demand rise to 736,568 MW, and that total is reduced by roughly 34,400 MW of Demand Response available on-peak.  The Texas Regional Entity Region is expected to see the highest percentage increase in peak Total Internal Demand. 

The 2009/2010 Post-Winter Reliability Assessment said that operational reliability and sufficient reserves were maintained, but the Southeast was presented with several challenges due to the abnormally cold winter.  The Post-Winter Assessment also discussed short-term strategies needed to address severe weather conditions, and it emphasized the growing importance of real-time wind monitoring in order to maintain an overall resource portfolio.

A full copy of the Reliability Assessment is available at 2010/0211 Reliability Assessment as well as a full copy of the 2009/2010 Post-Winter Assessment.