Is there an electricity shortage in the U.S.?
In February 2021, Winter Storm Uri, a major North American winter and ice storm, caused power blackouts across Texas. The gas pipes supplying power plants froze, and wind turbines stopped spinning, impacting electric heating for customers of ERCOT, the state’s grid operator.
The storm was an anomalistic event that highlighted the dependence of electric heating on energy networks. To better serve customers in the future, grid operators and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) are evaluating how to climate-proof power supply as electricity demand is rising.
Publicis Sapient partnered with Sector & Sovereign Research (SSR) to examine U.S. energy supply fundamentals from the bottom up by facility technology and commissioning date. Our analysis suggests almost two-thirds of U.S. dispatchable generation capacity is likely to retire by 2035, well above forecasts from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Over the same period, the adoption of electric cars and the widespread advancement of electrification policy will drive peak load well above the historical maximum (789 GW) observed in 2007 and 2012 (see Exhibit 1).