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PRESS RELEASE | New York's Electric Grid Prepared to Meet Summer Demand

May 28, 2020

Rensselaer, NY - The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) today reported that electricity supplies in New York State are expected to be adequate this summer, with a total of 41,319 megawatts (MW) of power resources available to meet forecasted peak demand conditions.

“The state’s grid is well-equipped to handle forecasted summer 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.”

Summer Demand Forecast

The NYISO forecasts that peak load this summer will reach 32,296 MW, a decrease of 86 MW from the 2019 baseline forecast and 1.3% above the 10-year average peak of 31,867 MW. Last summer’s peak demand of 30,391 MW was recorded on July 20.

In July 2013, New York recorded a record peak of 33,956 MW at the end of a week-long heat wave. Peak demand is a measurement of the average total electric demand by consumers for a one-hour period. One megawatt of electricity can serve approximately 800-1,000 homes.

Demand on New York’s electric system peaks in the summer as air conditioning drives overall power usage higher. While the electricity system must be prepared to meet peak load conditions, average demand is typically far less.

The peak demand forecast is based on normal expected summer weather conditions. The NYISO also evaluates the potential for more extreme weather scenarios. The NYISO’s extreme weather scenario analysis for this summer found that peak demand could increase under more extreme conditions to approximately 34,210 MW.

COVID-19 Impact and Response

While COVID-19 has led to an 8-10% drop in overall electricity usage throughout the New York Control Area, the virus has not materially impacted our summer peak load projections. This is due to a variety of factors, including a projected gradual increase in load due to the re-opening plan outlined by the state and the use of in-home air conditioning.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the NYISO has taken proactive actions to protect the safety of its critical control room operators, including utilization of the alternate control room, additional extensive cleaning between shifts, testing of operators, and several weeks of on-site sequestration.

The NYISO has also been in regular contact with New York transmission owners and generator asset owners to maintain healthy critical employees, and confirm that appropriate system maintenance is scheduled and completed to ensure full operating capability during peak hot weather electric operations.

Reliability Requirements and Resource Availability

New York’s electric system is operated under reliability standards that include an installed reserve margin requirement based on the potential loss of the system’s largest single resource. In 2020, the operating reserve requirement is 2,620 MW. The combination of the peak demand forecast and operating reserve results in a total capacity requirement of 34,916 MW.

The total capacity of power resources available to New York this summer is expected to be 41,319 MW. Available resources include 38,475 MW of generating capacity from power plants in New York State and 1,562 MW of net purchases and sales from neighboring regions capable of supplying energy to New York.

In addition to power plant generating capacity and the ability to import power from neighboring regions, 1,282 MW of demand response resources are available. Demand response programs enlist large users of electricity and aggregations of smaller power customers to reduce electricity consumption when called upon by the NYISO.

The effect of energy efficiency programs, distributed solar photovoltaics, and non-solar distributed resources are included in the NYISO’s forecast. These resources moderate the growth of peak load and reduce overall energy usage from the grid.

A copy of the NYISO’s full Summer 2020 Capacity Assessment is available here.

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.