By UtilityDive.com – Will the power utility, XCEL Energy, have enough power generation capacity by 2030 in time to abolish all of its coal-fired generating plants? Energy regulators are very doubtful that XCEL Energy can achieve this vigorous goal in replenishing enough clean power to offset their reduction in carbon emissions. The fear is: will XCEL approach a power generation shortfall over the next decade to its electric load demand?
“The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on Jan. 4 asked Xcel Energy to reconsider shuttering its Sherco and King coal-fired power plants, writing that their premature closure adds to the uncertainty of electric generation resource adequacy in the upper Midwest.”
By PowerMag.com – On Wednesday, January 17, 2024, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of the nation’s largest power generation and transmission utilities in the southeast, reached an all-time record-breaking winter “peak power demand of 34,526 MW,” while the average temperature across the Tennessee valley region (7 state territory) was at “4 degrees F.”
TVA’s previous peak power demand record was set in August 2007 reaching a summer peak power “demand of 33,482 MW.” TVA also set another previous “winter peak power demand record at the end of 2023 (December 23, 2022) during the Winter Storm Elliott with a demand of 33,400 MW,” which spiraled into power generation shortages resulting in a series of rolling blackouts across the region.
With the higher peak power demand forecasted in early 2024, “TVA urged its 10 million customers to be aware of their power consumption” and to cut back on energy usage during the early morning hours. At this time, all of TVA’s generating units were operating adequately while maintaining a stable electric power grid. “TVA had invested $123 million over the past few months” in better preparation for this winter compared to the winter just a year ago.
With the increases in power generation retirements in both coal powered and nuclear energy plants, presents major reliability concerns to the electric infrastructure. There is over “83 GW of fossil fuel and nuclear generation” in planned retirements over the next decade that could wreak havoc on the nations power system.
NERC indicated in their “Long-Term Reliability Assessment” that this “creates blackout risks for most of the United States.”
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) reported that “the grid operator’s extreme winter weather scenario shows that peak demand could increase to as much as 26,086 MW, higher than its previous all-time winter peak.
NYISO repeated its earlier warning that it expects a sharp rise in wholesale electricity prices, and in consumer bills, this winter due to lingering impacts of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that the price of natural gas delivered to electric generators would average $8.81/MMBtu this summer, up from $3.93/MMBtu in 2021.”
Fusion Energy is becoming exceedingly more popular with an investment increase of nearly 150% (just shy of $3 Billion) from last year. “The industry is becoming more optimistic that fusion power will be accessible to the grid by the 2030s, according to the Fusion Industry Association (FIA).
Six participating companies have collectively raised more than $200 million, the FIA reported. Commonwealth Fusion Systems raised $1.8 billion, and Helion Energy raised $500 million.”
Westinghouse is being purchased by two entities: “Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) and Brookfield Renewable Partners said on Tuesday they would acquire nuclear power plant equipment maker Westinghouse Electric in a $7.9-billion deal including debt, amid renewed interest in nuclear energy.
The deal for one of the most storied names in the American power industry at an equity value of $4.5 billion comes at a time when nuclear power is seeing an uptick in interest amid an energy crisis in Europe and soaring crude oil and natural gas prices.”