Winter strains on electric grids match summer challenges
In a shift from past trends, electric grids now face significant strain during winter months, matching the challenges traditionally seen in summer.
- Electric grids, initially designed for peak summer demand, are increasingly strained by winter usage due to growing electricity needs and aging infrastructure.
- The North American Electric Reliability Corporation predicts winter electricity demand may surpass summer usage by 2050, with current trends showing a rapid increase in winter demand.
- Challenges include inefficient electric heat pumps in extreme cold, reduced power imports from Canada, and the need for grid upgrades to accommodate changing demand patterns.
"We’re seeing both summer and winter peaks growing, but we’re seeing winter peaks growing faster."
— Jim Robb, chief executive of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.
Why this matters:
This evolving trend in electricity usage underscores the need for grid modernization and adaptation, especially as it impacts health and safety during extreme weather. It also highlights the broader challenge of transitioning to sustainable energy sources while maintaining reliable power supply.
More people on the planet have access to electricity than ever before, however, the world is on pace to fall short on the goal of affordable and sustainable energy for all by 2030.