Powering Strong Communities

Grid Operators Grapple With Sizzling Temperatures, Soaring Power Demand

Grid operators in parts of the U.S. this week have been grappling with soaring power demand resulting from extreme heat.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) declared a Maximum Generation Emergency Alert effective for June 15 for the MISO Balancing Authority Area. MISO noted that the reason for the event is because of forced generation outages, above normal temperatures and high congestion.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported having a record-breaking peak electric demand on Sunday, June 12, 2022, of 74,917 megawatts, breaking the previous all-time peak of 74,820 MW that occurred on Thursday, August 22, 2019.  

“Current weather and load forecasts predict record-setting hot weather across the state through this week. ERCOT expects sufficient generation to meet the high demand at this time,” the grid operator said on June 14.

PJM Interconnection on June 13 issued a Hot Weather Alert for its Western Region for June 14–15 in anticipation of hot and humid weather building through the week in the Midwest.

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. 

Electricity use was expected to peak around 140,000 MW on Wednesday.

PJM said it was prepared to serve a forecasted summer peak demand for electricity of approximately 149,000 MW but has performed reliability studies at even higher loads – in excess of 157,000 MW. PJM has approximately 185,000 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, it said.

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

In preparation for summer, PJM worked with transmission and generation owners throughout the spring to ensure that critical maintenance and system improvements were completed, it said. To stay ahead of any fuel-related supply chain concerns, PJM continues to conduct fuel inventories every two weeks and monitors results for the generation fleet.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and 153 local power companies across the region successfully met a record power demand for the month of June during an early season heat wave on Monday, June 13, TVA reported June 14.

At 6 p.m. ET, the power system was providing 31,311 MW at a region-wide average temperature of 94 degrees. The previous record for June was 31,098 MW on June 29, 2012.