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PRESS RELEASE | NYISO Forecasts Adequate Electric Capacity for Winter 2018-19

December 11, 2018

Rensselaer, NY | On the threshold of the upcoming winter, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) projects that New York’s electric system has the capacity to meet demand for electricity and maintain necessary operating reserves during cold weather conditions through the 2018-19 winter season.

The NYISO anticipates a peak demand of 24,260 megawatts (MW) for this winter season. The winter peak forecast is based on average winter weather conditions, with composite statewide temperatures of 15 F. More extreme temperatures, for example approximately 5 F statewide, would result in a higher forecasted peak demand of 25,884 MW.

Peak demand is a measurement of the highest average total electric demand by consumers for a one-hour period. One megawatt of electricity can serve approximately 800 to 1,000 homes.

Last winter peak demand reached 25,081 MW on Jan. 5, during a very cold, two-week period that began at the end of December. New York’s record winter peak was set in 2014, during polar vortex conditions that pushed demand to 25,738 MW.

While the polar vortex of 2014 did not cause any reliability issues, the NYISO made changes to its market designs to provide stronger incentives for generators to secure fuel 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 enhanced 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 winter of 2017-18.

This winter season, resources capacity, including generation, imports and demand response, is expected to total 43,943 MW. Installed generation capacity amounts to 41,539 MW. Net external capacity purchases of 1,519 MW also have been secured for the winter period. Projected demand response resources, which enlist consumers to reduce electricity use during peak conditions, equal 884 MW.

The electric system requires surplus power supplies to maintain reliable grid operations in the event of unanticipated electric supply disruptions, transmission outages or unexpected increases in power consumption. Each day, New York’s grid operators maintain 2,620 MW of operating reserves, which means additional generation resources are scheduled above the amount needed to meet the projected demand for electricity on that day.

The NYISO’s winter outlook analysis was made after a thorough review of available power resource supply, expected transmission resources, and an analysis of anticipated demand for electricity.  NYISO bases its information on surveys and discussions with generator and transmission owners. NYISO also performed on-site visits of generators to gauge cold-weather preventative maintenance, fuel switching capabilities (in regard to possible gas pipeline contingencies) and other winter operation issues.

We are an independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating NY’s electricity grid. We administer wholesale electricity markets, conduct planning for the state’s long-term needs, and advance our technological infrastructure.