All regions of America have ample electricity supplies heating into the peak demand summer season, when air conditioning loads get cranking, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Reserve margins, or projected unused electric generating capacity at the time of peak usage, range from 15 percent in New England and Texas to almost 29 percent in New York, the report said.
By another yardstick compiled by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., reference margin, the Southwest Power Pool in the center of the country was at the low end of the range at 12 percent. “Reference margins, which differ by region, are reserve margin targets based on each area's load, generation capacity, and transmission characteristics,’ the report said.
Derek Wingfield, spokesman for the SPP, in an email to the Energy Times wrote, “It is true that SPP has a 12 percent planning reserve margin requirement (what EIA calls “reference margin” in the June 5 article). Our forecast reserve margin for summer 2017, though – the amount of firm, net accredited generating capacity we have above our forecast non-coincident load – is far above that: around 26 percent.”
He continued, “We require – through our criteria – that our load-serving members maintain a minimum firm net accredited generating capacity that’s 12 percent above their non-coincident base load. That’s where we get the 12 percent target planning reserve or reference margin.”