PJM, Members Prepared to Meet Winter Electricity Demand

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PJM and its members are prepared to meet the forecasted winter electricity demand in the nation’s largest high-voltage power grid.

“Because of our members’ preparation efforts and history of reliable performance, improved coordination with gas pipeline operators, and the market’s ability and flexibility to call on a variety of resources, we’re confident that we will be able to meet customer demand this winter,” said Mike Bryson, vice president – Operations.

PJM, which operates the grid serving 65 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, expects to have 185,611 megawatts of resources available to meet the forecasted peak demand of 135,506 MW. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,295 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.

PJM analyzes the anticipated demand for electricity, weather predictions and other factors to develop its forecast for winter operations. As part of its regular winter preparations, PJM also analyzes potential pipeline service disruptions and the effect on generators, and has found that there are no associated reliability concerns for the coming winter.

PJM is prepared to meet electricity needs amid a less-certain winter weather forecast. While climate models suggest a warmer season, studies of similar seasons suggest near- to below-average temperatures. Additionally, the arctic air mass known as the “polar vortex” may weaken later in the season, which could lead to short periods of arctic cold. A weaker polar vortex allows arctic air to travel farther south than it normally would.

In addition, PJM continues to work with members to prepare for cold weather by testing resources, conducting emergency procedure drills and surveying generators for fuel inventory. PJM has also worked to better align market deadlines with those of natural gas pipelines; a proposal before FERC would provide additional time, and thus more certainty, for generators purchasing fuel.

Last winter, the peak of 137,522 MW occurred on Jan. 5, 2018, during an 11-day cold snap. PJM reported (PDF) that generation and transmission performed well under adverse conditions during that period. Even during peak demand, PJM had adequate reserves and capacity available, and Capacity Performance market rules resulted in more efficient and dependable generator performance.