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PRESS RELEASE | New York’s Electric Grid Prepared to Meet Winter Demand

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PRESS RELEASE | New York’s Electric Grid Prepared to Meet Winter Demand

November 9, 2021

Rensselaer, NY -- The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) today reported that electricity supplies in New York State are expected to be sufficient this winter to meet forecasted peak demand conditions, with a total of 42,415 megawatts (MW) of power resources available.

“Recognizing the unique challenges that can accompany the upcoming winter season, NYISO operations staff has taken additional precautions and conducted extensive additional outreach to generators to maintain reliable bulk system operations for all New Yorkers. Despite the recent increase in commodity fuel prices, our markets will continue to help us meet this winter’s demand reliably at the least cost possible,” said Rich Dewey, President and CEO of the New York ISO.

“The state’s grid is well-equipped to handle forecasted winter demand,” said Wes Yeomans, Vice President of Operations for the NYISO. “The NYISO operates the grid to meet reliability rules that are among the strictest in the nation and are designed to ensure adequate supply.”

Winter Demand Forecast

The NYISO forecasts that peak demand for winter 2021-22 will reach 24,025 MW. The forecast represents an increase of 1,483 MW over last winter’s peak of 22,542 MW on December 16, 2020, but is 0.7 percent below the 10-year average winter peak of 24,203 MW. 

The NYISO’s extreme winter weather scenario analyses evaluate numerous types of conditions and show that peak demand could increase to as much as 26,230 MW.

New York’s all-time winter peak was set in January 2014, during multi-day polar vortex conditions that pushed demand to 25,738 MW.

While the polar vortex of 2014 did not cause any bulk power system reliability issues, the NYISO made changes to its market designs to provide stronger incentives for generators to secure fuel availability and enhance preparations for winter peak demand needs. At the same time, the NYISO took steps to improve situational awareness of natural gas system conditions and enhance procedures for monitoring generator fuel inventories. This combination of actions taken by the NYISO proved valuable in reliably meeting demand throughout the more recent severe cold snaps experienced in the winters of 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Winter 2021-22 Preparedness 

Part of the NYISO’s annual winter preparedness procedures includes detailed surveys sent to generators across the state. Those surveys help our operators understand specific challenges during each season. 

Key takeaways for the 2021-22 winter season include: 

  • Operations is monitoring regional fuel supplies as indications are these could be limited in supply this winter. US Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates oil inventories both regionally and throughout the United States are below historical values.
  • Seasonal and weekly fuel surveys indicate oil and dual-fuel capability generation have sufficient start-of-winter oil inventories (but lower than past years’ inventories).
  • Operations has surveyed most generating stations to discuss past winter operations, preparations for the upcoming winter, including last dual-fuel operation, cold-weather preventative maintenance, fuel procurement arrangements, and fuel switching capabilities.
  • Operations coordination of transmission and generation maintenance outages helps mitigate the reliability impact of such outages during extreme cold weather periods.

Additional actions of note:   

  • NYISO participated in various communications and coordination efforts with NERC, state agencies (DPS, NYSERDA), other ISOs/RTOs, and gas industry personnel, including Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), Northeast Gas Association (NGA), NY pipelines, and NY LDCs.
  • 97% of the Generator Fuel & Emissions Reporting Annual Survey respondents indicated that their Winter Preparation Procedures include Freeze Protection measures that are in place for the upcoming winter.
  • Multiple respondents indicated Annual Operator Awareness Training would be implemented prior to this winter.
  • Based on reporting from the 2021 ERCOT & SPP Cold Weather events, the NYISO performed a “gas-electric critical infrastructure survey effort” consisting of:
    • Outreach/coordination with Local Gas Distribution Companies (LDCs) and pipelines that operate in New York to identify critical electric circuits for the gas system 
    • Review of electric load shedding processes with the New York Utilities 
    • Survey of NYISO Demand Response participants to identify “critical interdependent sub-sector loads”
We are an independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.

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