Grid operator PJM Interconnection said Tuesday that it’s ready to meet electric demand this summer, projected to peak at 152,131 MW.
PJM, which manages the movement of wholesale electricity for 61 million customers across parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia, said it has 182,912 MW of installed capacity ready to meet demand. The regional transmission organization said it has another 8,700 MW of demand response available in the event of a system emergency.
“Summer tests the system as people try to keep cool in hot and humid weather,” said Michael Bryson, PJM vice president of operations. “With continued transmission enhancements, reinforced capacity commitments and slowing forecasted load growth, we’re prepared to meet the region’s needs.”
Last summer’s demand peaked at 143,500 MW on July 28, 2015, with PJM’s highest-ever power use totaling 166,000 MW in 2006.
PJM said it is operating with a reserve margin of 28.3%.
Natural gas is likely to figure prominently in the U.S. electric generation stack this summer thanks to low commodity prices.
Natural gas surpassed coal as the leading fuel for domestic power generation for the first time in April 2015 and established itself as the leading fuel for electricity in the second half of the year (see Daily GPI, Dec. 28, 2015; Dec. 2, 2015; Oct. 28, 2015).
This came as coal made up the majority of U.S. capacity retirements in 2015 (see Daily GPI, March 8), while natural gas and renewables made up most of the capacity additions (see Daily GPI, March 24).
In March, the Energy Information Administration said it expects natural gas to power 33% of electric generation in the United States for full-year 2016, compared to 32% from coal (see Daily GPI, March 16).