US grid operator issues cold weather advisory for central U.S.

By Nicole Jao

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Grid operator Southwest Power Pool on Thursday issued a cold weather advisory for its 14-state region in the central U.S., warning of extreme arctic temperatures throughout the weekend and into early next week.

The transmission system operator said it expects to have sufficient capacity to meet an anticipated surge in energy demand, but warned that cold temperatures could be similar to those notched during Winter Storm Elliot in December 2022. That storm knocked out power for more than 1.5 million homes and businesses.

“The details, timing and full impact of the predicted storm systems are still highly uncertain,” the operator said in its advisory.

SPP expects electricity load to reach up to 45,000 megawatts (MW) on Monday and peak around 46,000 MW on Tuesday during the cold weather event. The all-time winter peak load record is 47,157 MW, which occurred during the 2022 storm, according to the grid operator.

The transmission operator also warned that a sharp decline in wind power generation could occur during the cold weather event, putting the system at higher-than-normal risk of outages as energy demand surges.

On Wednesday, grid operators ERCOT and PJM Interconnection issued cold weather advisories.

(Reporting by Nicole Jao; Editing by Leslie Adler)