Power grid predicted to handle 2017 summer heat

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VALLEY FORGE, Pa. – The PJM Interconnection, operator of the nation’s largest electric grid says it has enough power to meet anticipated peak demand and keep the region’s 65 million consumers cool this summer. That’s good news, because meteorologists anticipate above-average temperatures this season.

As part of its annual summer assessment, PJM planners and operators predict that hot summer weather is expected to drive electricity use to a peak of 153,000 megawatts – enough to power as many as 153 million homes.

“PJM is continually planning to meet the region’s needs years in advance, coordinating transmission upgrades with our members, embracing newer and efficient technologies and ensuring that the power supply is secure and reliable,” said Andy Ott, president and CEO of PJM.

PJM’s mission is to meet that electricity need by procuring enough resources to satisfy peak demand plus required reserves at the lowest reasonable cost through its competitive markets and working with its members to ensure the grid can reliably move power to where it’s needed now and years from now.

“Our members do a great job of maintaining strong transmission, generation and distribution systems that deliver all of this power to their customers, and our operators stand ready to make sure the power flows where it’s needed most,” said Mike Bryson, vice president-Operations.

PJM also enhanced the reliability of the power supply by instituting a new market construct that holds generators to stricter, no-excuses standards to deliver the electricity they promised.

In addition, PJM is required to have supplementary resources on reserve in case demand is higher than forecasted or generation is unexpectedly unavailable. The required reserve margin is 16.6 percent. However, this season, PJM will have significantly more installed capacity available, with a reserve margin of 29 percent, or nearly 42,000 MW.

Last summer, demand peaked at 151,907 MW on August 11, the first time PJM met a peak need of more than 150,000 MW without invoking emergency actions. The highest use of power in PJM was nearly 166,000 MW in 2006.

PJM has 185,804 MW of installed generating capacity available. If needed, it also may draw upon more than 9,120 MW of demand response resources, customers who are willing to curb their usage on request during peak times.
For more on how PJM prepares for summer demand, visit the PJM Learning Center.

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