In Addition to Setting and Enforcing Reliability Standards, part of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) role is to assess the state of the bulk power system and identify areas for improvement through annual summer, winter and long-term assessments. Through this new series of articles in T&D World, we'd like to share our findings with you, highlight the successes achieved so far and discuss ways our industry can address the challenges ahead of us.
NERC's 2007 Long-Term Reliability Assessment forecasts that demand for electricity is expected to rise at more than twice the rate of committed resources over the next decade, indicating a serious challenge for our industry. As the demand for electricity continues to increase, the bulk power system needs to be significantly improved.
There is promising evidence that a trend of higher investment in transmission resources has begun, however. Edison Electric Institute's most recent data shows that both investor-owned electric utilities and stand-alone transmission companies invested US$6.9 billion in 2005, which represents a 9.5% increase over 2004.
Our 2007 Long-Term Reliability Assessment data supports this trend by showing that, in general, transmission projects are now scheduled to be completed sooner than previously projected. More of them are also in the queue than in the past.
As our industry embarks on this journey of bringing the North American grid into the 21st century, we face several hurdles that we must consider for our efforts to be successful:
Renewable Energy Resources
We must work diligently to integrate variable resources like wind into the system. We also need to find better ways to maximize these resources, include them in our planning and accommodate their special characteristics. The remote nature of these resources will require new lines. Power will need to travel long distances over these lines to reach load centers, further complicating reliability and stability requirements.
New technologies, especially on the demand side, are opening up uncharted territory for the bulk power system. These new systems will enable consumers to respond to market prices, aggregators to sell capacity provided by distributed generation to open markets, and grid operators to see and actively correct disturbances in real-time. We must embrace these new “smart grid” initiatives and coordinate to realize their full potential.
Static/Dynamic Reactive Resources
As our system is increasingly loaded and the generation mix shifts from small generators in urban centers to a variety of distributed resources, the need to inject both static and dynamic VARs is growing exponentially. Bringing new and needed resources online will require both vision and dedication from all levels within utilities and independent organizations.
Advanced Planning and Load Flow Tools
With the unpredictability and volatility of power flows, and with increasingly loaded and complex power systems, our industry must have broader coordination in planning and operations. Therefore, we are required to develop sophisticated planning and control tools — some operating in real time — that will lead to a more robust, reliable bulk power system.
|2006 Existing||2007-2011 Additions||2012-2016 Additions||2016 Total Installed|
|Total - U.S.||163,480||10,956||3551||177,988|
|Total - Canada||46,650||1499||744||48,893|
|Total - NERC||210,804||12,607||4487||227,899|