PJM, operator of the nation’s largest electrical grid and wholesale electricity market, issued a Cold Weather Alert Friday for the ComEd region in northern Illinois for Sunday, Jan. 19 through Tuesday, Jan. 21.
A Cold Weather Alert prepares personnel and facilities for expected extreme cold weather conditions, when actual temperatures fall near or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Starting Sunday morning, lows are expected to drop into the single digits in the ComEd region.
PJM communicates with generator owners and directs them to be prepared to call in additional staff to get generating units running as morning load rises. They must take extra care to maintain equipment so that it does not freeze. During a Cold Weather Alert, PJM may also cancel or postpones planned maintenance outages in order to ensure availability of sufficient resources.
What’s Expected this Winter
PJM forecasts peak demand at around 134,000 MW this winter and has more than 187,000 MW of available generation, including natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar and other resources. PJM’s all-time winter peak record of 143,434 MW was set on Feb. 20, 2015.
PJM works with members to prepare for cold weather by testing resources, conducting drills and surveying generators for fuel inventory. PJM’s preparation checklist includes everything from increasing staffing for weather emergencies, maintenance activities and ensuring equipment is ready for winter conditions.
As part of regular winter operations, PJM closely coordinates with natural gas supply and transportation across the region. In addition, PJM also studies unforeseen impacts of possible pipeline service disruptions and subsequent effect on generators, and has found that there are no associated reliability concerns this winter.