PJM: Energy supply sufficient for normal summer conditions

Published on May 15, 2023 by Liz Carey

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Under normal conditions, the energy supply should be sufficient for its customers from the east coast to the Ohio Valley, but extreme conditions could trigger actions, PJM Interconnection said in its annual summer assessment report.

PJM said it is projecting a non-diversified peak demand this summer at about 156,000 MW. The company, the largest electric grid operator in the country, said performance reliability studies show it can generate loads nearing 163,000 MW. For customers in the company’s 13 state service corridor – Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia – that means under normal circumstance, power should not be interrupted. PJM said it has more than 186,000 MW of installed generating capacity that should cover historically observed summer scenarios.

However, since Winter Storm Uri in 2021, the company now models extreme scenarios that have no historic precedent, including multiple unlikely conditions occurring at the same time. In those extreme cases, the company said, demand response actions can be taken, including interrupting service to customers who have previously agreed to it in exchange for a capacity payment.

“PJM works diligently throughout the year to coordinate and plan for peak load operations, with reliability as our top priority,” said PJM President and CEO Manu Asthana. “We’re not saying these extreme conditions will happen, but the last few years have taught us to prepare for events we have never seen.”

Predicting demand, or load forecasting, helps ensure customers have a reliable supply of power even during extreme conditions, the company said. The risk to reserve margins in 2022 due to Winter Storm Elliott, coupled with hot summer weather drives up demand, the company said. This year, the National Weather Service is predicting higher-than-normal temperatures for most of the country, particularly along the East Coast and the Gulf Coast.

“We have learned through experience to expand the set of possibilities we prepare for,” said Mike Bryson, senior vice president of Operations. “We will continue to work with our utility partners and stakeholders to refine our planning, analysis and communications of the risks presented by new and challenging weather patterns and other variables.”