Biggest US grid operator issues heat alert

Biggest US grid operator issues heat alert
3D illustration of USA and North America from space at night. Courtesy 123rf

PJM Interconnection, the biggest grid operator in the US, issued a hot weather alert for 26 to 28 July to help prepare the transmission grid in the face of skyrocketing temperatures.

The hot weather alert serves to help prepare transmission and generation personnel and facilities within PJM’s region as the US’s heatwave continues to break records.

Extreme heat and humidity – the grid operator is expecting above 90°F (32.2°C) temperatures across their operating areas – may cause capacity problems on the grid.

As more people turn to electric cooling systems, demand for electricity will continue to rise. The strain this puts on the grid has the potential to cause outages.

PJM is expecting to serve a forecasted electricity load across their operating areas of approximately 150,700MW today and 152,800MW on July 28.

Have you read:
Dryad and Vodafone partner on ‘ultra-early’ detection tech to fight Spanish wildfires
IoT and cloud analytics network to preemptively mitigate wildfires

The forecasted summer peak demand for electricity is approximately 156,000MW. However, PJM states their reliability studies yielded higher loads in excess of 163,000MW.

PJM has approximately 186,000MW of installed generating capacity available to meet customer needs, with resources available in reserve.

According to PJM, last year’s peak demand was approximately 149,000MW.

A regional transmission organisation (RGO), PJM operates the electricity transmission grid on all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The alert comes as the US faces one of its hottest Summers on record.

Two weeks before the warning from PJM, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported a new all-time peak record for electricity demand on the grid of 81,406MW with their supply and demand dashboard showing the possibility of a new peak to come.

In Europe, a heat wave dubbed Cerberus also recently rolled across the continent, causing outages in Italy as wildfires in Greece rage.