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Today in Energy

August 27, 2021

EIA’s mapping system and data series show energy infrastructure near Hurricane Ida

energy disruptions map
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Energy Atlas

We posted this article on Friday, August 27, at 4:00 p.m. ET, and it will remain posted through Monday, August 30.

Hurricane Ida is approaching the U.S. Gulf Coast region—home to key U.S. energy infrastructure—and is expected to make landfall on Sunday, August 29. Hurricane Ida could affect energy supply and demand, including transportation fuels, natural gas and natural gas exports, and electricity. Our U.S. Energy Atlas and Energy Disruptions Map show storm-related geographic data (also referred to as map layers) from the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service and map layers for energy-related infrastructure such as high-voltage transmission lines, power plants, and petroleum bulk terminals.

We also publish key production, consumption, and operational status information that is relevant to understanding the effects of Hurricane Ida. We collect and publish hourly electric load data for each of the 68 balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states in the U.S. Hourly Electric Grid Monitor. The effects of storms on electric load may become apparent in the data as long as balancing authorities can transmit information to us. For example, in September 2017, widespread outages following the landfall of Hurricane Irma resulted in electricity demand in Florida falling to 64% lower than typical levels for that time of year.

Our Nuclear Outages status page maintains the daily status of each of the nation’s 57 nuclear power plants, based on status reports to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Louisiana has two nuclear power plants: Waterford Unit 3, located near New Orleans, and the River Bend nuclear power plant, located farther inland. Both facilities were operating at full capacity as of August 27.

We collect and publish transportation fuels data regionally at the Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) level. The Gulf Coast is a key region for U.S. petroleum infrastructure because it contains more than half of the U.S. petroleum refining capacity.

product supply, Louisiana Gulf Coast
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, East Coast and Gulf Coast Transportation Fuels Markets

Typically, demand for transportation fuels increases rapidly in the days before the arrival of a hurricane in the affected areas as consumers purchase fuel to prepare for evacuation. This rapid, unexpected increase in demand puts pressure on local inventories because the rest of the supply chain has not had time to respond. Louisiana has declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ida’s landfall.

Our Weekly Petroleum Status Report provides the most recent weekly estimates of regional petroleum markets. As of the week ending August 20, the Gulf Coast region had 84.9 million barrels of motor gasoline, or about 6% lower than last year in mid-August.

Principal contributors: Kristen Tsai, Elesia Fasching