Summer peak demand can put tremendous strain on the electricity grid. But, according to a recent report, the U.S. and Canada are prepared to meet this summer’s demand.
In June, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) found that both the U.S. and Canada have sufficient reserve margins — a measure of available generating capacity over and above the capacity needed to meet normal peak demand — to reliably serve the country’s electric demand this summer.
In aggregate, U.S. electric demand is expected to peak at about 853,000 MW, which is about the same as last summer. In total, about one million megawatts of capacity exists to meet the expected demand. Below is a map (courtesy of the Energy Information Administration) with reserve margin estimates and targets for summer 2014; in all regions, the estimated reserve margins for summer 2014 are equal to or greater than the target levels.