Holyoke, Mass., April 28, 2011 — According to ISO New England Inc., the operator of the region's bulk power system and wholesale electricity markets, the six-state region should have sufficient resources to meet consumer demand this summer.
Following a 2010 summer that broke several records, 2011 demand is predicted to peak at 27,550 MW under normal summer weather conditions of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit — slightly higher than last year's actual peak of 27,102 MW.
If New England were to experience extreme weather conditions, such as an extended heat wave of about 95 degrees, peak consumption could rise to 29,695 MW. New England's total capacity is 32,980 MW.
New England is a summer-peaking system, which means that consumer demand for electricity peaks during that time frame, driven largely by air conditioning. While last year's summer weather did not drive demand to a new peak record, several other records were set in 2010.
In July, New England's all-time electricity consumption for one month was recorded at 13,384 GWh, and new peak demand records were set for the months of May and September, at 22,823 MW and 25,902 MW, respectively.
New England has a number of resources it can use to meet peak summer demand and maintain reliability, including 29,710 MW from generation, 1,260 MW from demand-response resources, and imports totaling 1,235 MW from neighboring areas. Energy-efficiency measures will provide an additional 775 MW. These resources were procured through the Forward Capacity Market.
If unforeseen events occur, such as a transmission line or generator outage, or demand for electricity spikes during several days of extremely hot and humid weather, system operators have steps they can take to maintain a reliable flow of electricity.
These actions could include bringing in emergency power from neighboring regions, calling on demand-side resources, and asking business and residential customers to voluntarily conserve energy use.
The all-time record for peak demand in New England was set on August 2, 2006, when consumer demand reached 28,130 MW. One megawatt of electricity can power approximately 1,000 homes.
Created in 1997, ISO New England is the independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for reliably operating New England's bulk electric power generation and transmission system, overseeing and ensuring the fair administration of the region's wholesale energy markets, and managing comprehensive regional electric power planning.