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Increased Demand, Drought Condition Pose A Challenge for Midwest Utility Providers

Todd PittengerMay 20, 2022

Kansas faces an elevated risk of blackouts this summer. This according to industry officials, who say power-grid operators across the nation are preparing for higher-than-normal demand amid drought conditions that are likely to impact hydro-electric power generation in the Sunflower State.

Officials with the Southwest Power Pool, which services powers grids for Kansas and 13 other states, say demand is likely to reach a record-high 51.1 gigawatts this summer. For the season lasting June – September 2022, the organization anticipates that the demand for electricity will peak at 51.1 gigawatts, and also studied scenarios with higher-than-expected demand. Its diverse fleet of member utilities’ conventional and renewable generating resources will be prepared to serve at least 55.5 gigawatts, taking both planned and a margin of unplanned outages into consideration. The all-time peak demand for electricity was 51 gigawatts, which occurred July 28, 2021.

Energy experts say supply-chain interruptions could impact the pool’s ability to keep the lights on as well.

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