NYISO: Blackouts Unlikely for Big Apple, State

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) last Thursday expressed confidence that both New York City and the state as a whole should be able to avoid blackouts this summer, but then acknowledged the Big Apple will have a "razor-thin" positive margin starting in July.

NYISO in an updated outlook for New York's electricity system this summer noted that its forecast anticipates a number of factors that give the ISO confidence in the state being able to avoid blackouts even during the hottest months of 2001. Specifically, NYISO anticipates the installation of around 400 MW of simple-cycle turbines by the New York Power Authority and repairs and improvements to a number of existing facilities. In addition, the forecast takes into account the implementation of new demand-response programs by the NYISO and the utility companies that provide incentives to big power users to reduce demand during times of peak need.

"While no one can predict every eventuality, we are confident that the world-class reliability of New York's electric system can be maintained without any major disruptions this summer," said NYISO CEO William J. Museler. "A lot of people have worked very hard during the past nine months to do everything possible to ensure New York has enough electric power to get through the dog days of summer, and we believe that this hard work is going to pay off," he added.

The NYISO forecast incorporates a recently completed long-range weather forecast by its consultant, the Weather Bank, which predicts that the summer of 2001 will be hotter than the 10-, 20-, and 30-year norms, but not as hot as the summer of 1999. The installed capacity required for New York state for the months of May through October 2001 is 36,132 MWs per month. During June, 35,955 MWs of installed capacity have been secured, the NYISO noted, which will leave a statewide deficit of 177 MW. By July, installed capacity will reach 36,240 MWs and eliminate this deficit and will increase to 36,262 MWs for August through October. For the New York City area, the installed capacity required for May-October is 8,428 MWs. The city's installed capacity during May has been 8,236 MWs, or 192 MWs short of this requirement. An installed capacity of 8,734 MWs has been secured for the city for July, and this figure rises to around 8,778 MWs for the period of August through October.

Despite this optimistic forecast, Museler emphasized that New York still needs to concentrate on getting new, efficient gas-fired baseload generators sited and built on an expedited basis. He said that without any new generation added to the system, current predictions anticipate that New York could be almost 2,000 MW short of supply within the next three years. Because of the 24-to-36 month lead time to build large baseload plants, if New York is to remedy this situation it needs to get plants approved and shovels in the ground immediately, the NYISO added.

©Copyright 2001 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.