New York power grid gears up for summer

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

“New York has sufficient statewide generating capacity and other power resources to address expected peak usage, absent extreme weather conditions or unexpected power plant outages,” NYISO President and CEO Stephen G. Whitley said.


The NYISO forecast that New York’s 2014 summer peak demand will reach 33,666 MW. The forecast peak is below the record peak demand set last summer, when a heat wave produced power consumption of 33,956 MW on July 19, 2013.

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.

Summer heat is responsible for electric power system peaks in New York as air conditioners that increase overall power usage are called upon to counteract rising temperatures. While the electricity system must be prepared to address peak load conditions, average demand is typically far less.

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 36,000 MW.

The total capacity of power resources available to New York in summer 2014 is expected to be 41,298 MW. The total includes 37,978 MW of generating capacity from New York power plants, 1,189 MW in demand response resources (programs under which consumers reduce usage) and 2,130 MW of import capability that could be used to supply energy from neighboring regions to New York.

A surplus of capacity is available for the state as a whole, but transmission constraints narrow the margins of supply for downstate regions.

While power resources remain sufficient to address forecast demand, the margin of surplus capacity has narrowed in recent years. The resources available this summer are about 150 MW below last year’s total and more than 2,200 MW below the 2012 total. Since the start of summer 2012, power plants with more than 2,000 MW of generating capacity have retired or suspended operations.

The ability of New York’s power system to meet the needs of all electricity customers at all times is established by reliability requirements. The standard for resource adequacy sets requirements for reserves over and above the amount needed to meet forecast peak demand. In 2014, the standard requires that 39,389 MW be available to serve New York, a reserve margin of 17 percent above the summer peak demand forecast.

In addition to power plant generating capacity and the capability of importing power, peak demands conditions can be addressed by demand response resources. These programs enlist large users of electricity and aggregations of smaller power customers to reduce their electricity consumption when called upon by the NYISO.

While power resources are expected to be sufficient to meet summer needs, the NYISO noted the ongoing value of energy efficiency.

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