In preparing this assessment, North American Electric Reliability Corporation has evaluated key reliability indicators, including peak demand and energy forecasts,resource adequacy, transmission development, changes in overall system characteristics and operating behavior, and other influential or regulatory issues that may impact the reliability of the BPS. Over the next 10 years, the electric industry will face a number of significant emerging reliability issues, which are explained in detail throughout this report. Emerging reliability challenges will drive a transformational change for the industry that could potentially result in a dramatically different resource mix with reliance on natural gas and renewable generation, a need for enhanced modeling, a new risk and probabilistic framework built to address reliability challenges, and growing critical infrastructure and protection concerns—both physical and cyber.
One of the most significant overarching findings of this report is a rapid change in resource mix in several areas across North America. While the key factors driving this evolutionary change vary by region, fuel price economics, environmental regulations, and renewable requirements are the most significant factors affecting the pace of change. Fundamentally, substantial modifications to the bulk power system require a great deal of time to design, site, permit, and ultimately construct. As projected in this report, a majority of new generation, as well as older generation expected to retire, will contribute to a significant resource shift. As resources change both in system characteristics and geography, the transmission system will be challenged to develop a more robust grid that is not only resilient to resource shifts, but also other more extreme conditions.