Electric grid prepared for summer demand, says NYISO

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) reported that electricity supplies in New York state are expected be adequate to meet forecasted electric power demand this summer.

The NYISO forecasts that New York’s summer 2013 peak demand will reach 33,279 MW. The forecast is 840 MW higher than the 2012 summer peak of 32,439 MW. It is 660 MW below the record system peak of 33,939 MW recorded on August 2, 2006.

“The outlook for the supply of electricity is positive, given forecasts for electricity demand this summer,” said NYISO president and CEO Stephen G. Whitley. “While the retirement of several power plants has decreased the total supply, we have sufficient statewide generating capacity and other resources to address expected peak usage.”

Peak demand is a measurement of the average total electric demand by consumers for a one-hour period. One megawatt of electricity can serve about 800 to 1,000 homes.


The peak forecast is based on normal summer weather conditions, with temperatures in New York City about 95 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). If extreme summer weather produces heat waves of 100°F in New York City and elsewhere, peak demand across the state could increase to about 35,770 MW, eclipsing the previous record.

Last year’s summer peak day (July 17, 2012) was cooler than normal. Given normal weather conditions, last summer’s peak demand would have been more than 33,000 MW.

Summer heat is responsible for electric power system peaks in New York as cooling demand from air conditioners increases overall usage. While the electricity system must be prepared to address peak load conditions, average demand is typically far less. In 2012, for example, the peak demand of 32,439 MW was 75 percent higher than the average demand of 18,538 MW.

The ability of New York’s power system to meet the needs of all electricity customers at all times is established by rigorous reliability requirements. The standard for resource adequacy sets requirements for reserves over and above the amount needed to meet forecasted peak demand. In 2013, the standard requires that 38,936 MW be available to serve New York, a reserve margin of 17 percent above the summer peak demand forecast.

The total capacity available to New York in 2013 is expected to be 41,452 MW, which includes 37,925 MW of existing in-state generation, 1,558 MW of demand response resources (programs under which consumers reduce usage) and 1,969 MW of import capability that could be used to supply energy from neighboring regions to New York.

The resources available in 2013 are about 2,220 MW below last year’s total. The retirement of power plants with nearly 1,700 MW of summer generating capability is the largest factor in the decline of available power resources.

Absent unexpected generation unit outages or extreme weather events, New York has adequate resources to meet demand this summer. The total capacity is available for the state as a whole, but transmission constraints narrow the margins of supply for downstate regions.

Despite recent power plant retirements, the resources available to serve New York’s electricity needs have expanded over the past dozen years, with the addition of more than 10,000 MW of new generation capacity, more than 1,600 MW of new transmission capability and more than 1,500 MW of demand response resources. Many of the older generating units that have gone out of service were replaced by power plants that produce lower emissions.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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