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Grid Operators Brace for Hot Weather, Potential for Spike in Power Demand

Grid operators this week are preparing for an increase in power demand with forecasts for continued hot temperatures across much of the U.S.

On July 24, the Midcontinent ISO said that it anticipates high demand in its North and Central Regions this week due to extreme heat.

“We are coordinating with our member utilities and neighboring grid operators to maintain reliability should tight operating conditions arise,” it said in a tweet.

The PJM Interconnection, the grid operator for the Mid-Atlantic region, on July 24 issued a Hot Weather Alert for July 26–28 for its entire footprint in anticipation of above 90-degree temperatures.

“A Hot Weather Alert helps to prepare transmission and generation personnel and facilities for extreme heat and/or humidity that may cause capacity problems on the grid. Temperatures are expected to go above 90 degrees across the footprint, which drives up the demand for electricity,” the grid operator said.

PJM said it is expecting to serve a forecasted load across the RTO of approximately:

  • 144,500 MW on July 26
  • 150,700 MW on July 27
  • 152,800 MW on July 28

The forecasted summer peak demand for electricity is approximately 156,000 MW, but PJM has performed reliability studies at even higher loads – in excess of 163,000 MW.

PJM has approximately 186,000 MW of installed generating capacity available to meet customer needs, with sufficient resources available in reserve to cover generation that is unexpectedly unavailable or for other unanticipated changes in demand.

Last year’s PJM peak demand was approximately 149,000 MW.

The Southwest Power Pool has announced a weather advisory effective noon CT Wednesday until 8 p.m. CT Friday, July 28.

“Weather advisories do not require the public to conserve energy. They are issued to raise awareness of potential threats to reliability among entities responsible for operating transmission and generation facilities,” said Meghan Sever, Senior Communication Strategist at SPP.

The advisory has been declared due to higher than normal temperatures.

“To mitigate risks to reliability associated with these factors, SPP may use greater unit commitment notification timeframes, including making commitments prior to standard day-ahead market procedures and/or committing resources in reliability status,” Sever said.

“At this time, our load and wind forecasts and number of outages look good, and we do not anticipating escalating past a weather advisory. Our peak load this week is forecasted to be 51,676 MW (July 27). We do not anticipate any load records.“

The New York ISO “forecasts that supply is expected to meet demand through the coming period of hot weather,” said Andrew Gregory, NYISO spokesman, on July 24.


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