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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

AES reassures capacity as report warns of potential coordinated power outages

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Extreme weather is causing increasing challenges for the power grid across the United States, and a report found experts are concerned it could result in coordinated power outages in several regions in the Midwest, including Indiana. But AES Indiana says it has a plan in place to avoid an energy shortfall.

The region’s grid operator, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), was warned of potential coordinated power outages as the heat rises and more people use their air conditioners to keep cool, according to a report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. The report said Indiana has a “high risk of energy emergencies during peak summer conditions.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an increase in above-normal average temperatures for most of the U.S. for June, July and August.  Young said AES works closely with MISO to monitor the grid and weather, and both short-term and long-term plans are in place to avoid a blackout. 

“We are aware of an elevated risk of energy shortfalls this summer and we’re on high alert to make sure our customers have capacity,” Young said.

AES does have the capacity, Young said, and coordinated power outages are extremely rare. There has never been one in the state of Indiana, and AES has no plans to implement a coordinated power outage as of now. Coordinated power outages are an emergency step that is only taken as a last resort, Young said.

“At AES we manage our generation and fuel supply, we know we have a capacity,” Young said.

In June, AES joined Climate READi, a three-year initiative to address resilience and adaptation to the energy system as extreme weather events continue. This will enable better planning in the wake of climate change, designing and operating.   

AES is also investing $1.2 billion through revAMP, an initiative that modernizes the electric grid to meet ever-changing energy needs. The investments will help upgrade and replace aging equipment and provide new technology such as smarter technology that troubleshoots the grid in real time and intelligently connected “smart” meters, according to a press release.

“Joining EPRI’s [Electric Power Research Institute] Climate READi Initiative will help us build on our existing improvement efforts by providing valuable insights into future climate impacts, rather than relying on historical data,” said Kristina Lund, president and CEO of AES US Utilities said in a statement. “This robust climate modeling will help inform our investments to better deliver long-term reliability for our customers.”

Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett at 317-762-7847 or by email jaydenk@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.

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