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Central U.S. electric grid operator says it’ll have ‘sufficient energy’ for summer demand

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Posted at 2:06 PM, Jun 03, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Southwest Power Pool, the nonprofit organization that helps utility providers across the central United States match electricity generation with customer demand, says it’s ready despite the chances of warmer than normal temperatures.

In a presentation to stakeholders on May 21, SPP said it expects to have “sufficient energy” as summer temperatures climb into the 90s and higher.

“While we anticipate no major concerns this summer, we are prepared for any circumstance,” Bruce Rew, SPP senior vice president of operations, said in a release. “Despite a forecast of higher-than-normal temperatures, SPP is confident in our ability to keep the lights on for the 18 million people in our region.”

That figure includes the more than 2 million residents in the Kansas City area.

If one area of SPP’s footprint is seeing high temps and increased demand to keep air conditioners running, they can turn to any surplus capacity in other parts of their footprint to help bridge the gap.

The electricity generation still comes from utility providers like Evergy or the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.

“As a regional transmission organization, SPP’s top priority is to ensure reliability,” Rew said. “We work with our member utilities to monitor the electric grid, maintain contingency plans and collaborate during periods of operational challenges.”

SPP has several ways to help balance the grid, including asking utilities to run their generators at different times or higher outputs, reschedule maintenance or other outages or import energy from other sources.

But that power still has to be sent from where it’s made to where it’s needed, and severe storms could always temporarily block those connections.

SPP estimates a 90 percent probability that it will be able to serve all loads during summer peak usage hours.

You can monitor the performance of the regional grid on the SPP’s website.