On December 9, 2013, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released its annual “Long-Term Reliability Assessment,” which considers current and anticipated issues in electric reliability for the next decade.  NERC explains that it evaluates certain “key reliability indicators,” including: peak demand, energy forecasts, resource adequacy, transmission development, changes in overall system characteristics and operating behavior, as well as other issues that may impact the reliability of the bulk power system.  In the report, NERC has outlined six challenges that it sees as having the most impact on grid reliability in the 2014-2023 period:

  • Resource adequacy concerns in the regions of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. and Electric Reliability Council of Texas;
  • Continued integration of variable generation;
  • Fossil-fired retirements and coordination of outages for environmental control retrofits;
  • Increased dependence on natural gas for electric power;
  • Increased use of demand-side management;
  • Nuclear generation retirements and/or long-term outages.

NERC anticipates that over the next 10 years the electricity industry will face a number of emerging reliability issues driven by these six challenges and the industry-wide changes they cause.  It is NERC’s view that addressing the resulting reliability issues will require close industry coordination on the development of a more robust transmission infrastructure, as well as better modeling and risk management.

To view the full report, click here.