July 20 is coming up, and looking back in the records that ranks as hottest day in the Carolinas. That is when the AC is cranking. So it is a time when the grid can get stressed.
With the virus and changes in people’s behavior, this summer may be a bit easier on the grid. That is what the U.S. Energy Information Agency said. Power demand projections indicate that resources will be able to adequately meet what customers need.
The term to know is reserve margin: The amount of generation capacity available to meet expected demand in the planning horizon.
According to the EIA (see map) if any part of the nation may have a challenge it would be Texas, with the smallest margin. That is common, though. That region “typically has one of the smallest anticipated reserve margins in the country, meaning it may have relatively little unused electric generating capacity during times of peak electric load.”
A wild card in power planning is the utility workforce. “As the coronavirus crisis unfolds in the lead up to summer, the industry is preparing to operate with a significantly smaller workforce, an encumbered supply chain, and limited support services for an extended and unknown period of time.” (Source)
Other than all this, of course, everything is just the same as before.