By: NorthcentralPA.com |
PJM Interconnection, operator of the nation’s largest power grid, is prepared with enough resources to power air conditioners to the 61 million people served by the power grid. This summer is forecasted to see 1.3 percent higher energy use over last summer’s projection, with 157,279 megawatts at its peak. One megawatt of electricity is enough to power 800 to 1,000 homes.Last summer’s forecasted peak was 155,553 MW, however due to hotter than normal temperatures, the actual peak reached 157,141 MW.The highest peak use of power was 165,492 MW in July 2011. Peak use of power for those served by PJM typically occurs in the summer. Separate records are tracked for winter months. This past winter, PJM had eight of its 10 highest use days in January and set a new record for overall winter peak demand at 141,846 MW on January 7.Winter demand in January caused a jump from $40 per MwH to more than $1,000 MwH in electric prices. Higher electricity prices were driven by a spike natural gas prices. (See April 7 PA Environment Digest)”Our experience with extreme seasonal weather and conditions over the past couple of years has helped us to better prepare for hot summers the one we expect this year,” said Michael J. Kormos, executive vice president – Operations. “With a number of transmission enhancements completed since last summer and resources available, we’re confident we’re ready.”PJM has 183,220 MW of installed generation capacity, meaning all possible generation available to use. In addition, PJM expects to have about 10,600 MW of demand response, which represents load that is willing to interrupt in the event of a system emergency. The generation and demand response provide PJM with a reserve margin of 25.4 percent, well above the required 16.2 percent margin.