NYISO meets heat wave electricity demand

After six days of sweltering heat throughout the Northeast, New York State successfully met a new record peak demand for electricity of 33,956 MW on July 19, thanks to the performance of market participants’ generation and transmission assets, demand response programs, inter-regional coordination and a large supply of available wind power, according to the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).

Some highlights from the record-breaking day on July 19, include:

Markets at Work: Competitive wholesale electricity markets provide incentives for power plants to be up and running during periods of peak demand. On July 19, every available generator in New York was committed and online. In addition, the NYISO’s demand response programs, which reduce energy use at peak times, were activated every day of the week to help manage demand, particularly in the historically congested areas of the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.

Inter-Regional Coordination: The NYISO and neighboring regions, including ISO New England, PJM, Hydro Quebec and Ontario continue to work together on initiatives to improve coordination and communication among grid operators. On Friday, the NYISO was able to import power from the Ontario and the PJM regions while, at the same time, exporting power to ISO New England for most of the day.

Wind Power: On many days during extremely hot weather, winds are very light or non-existent. However, on July 19, the NYISO had the benefit of more than 1,000 MW of wind power throughout much of the day.

Challenges Highlighted: The extreme conditions of the heat wave clearly identified the need for targeted transmission system upgrades. Portions of the lower Hudson Valley and Western New York experienced significant levels of transmission congestion.  

The daily peak loads recorded in New York last week were 32,703 MW (Monday, July 15), 32,361 MW (Tuesday, July 16), 33,254 MW (Wednesday, July 17), 33,450 MW (Thursday, July 18) and 33,956 MW (Friday, July 19). The previous record peak of 33,939 MW was set on August 2, 2006.

Peak loads are measurements of the average total electric demand by consumers for a one-hour period. One megawatt of electricity is enough to power between 800 and 1,000 homes. Peak demand usually occurs in the late afternoon.

In summer, usage climbs each day during a heat wave causing the load to grow every day over the course of the heat wave. During these periods of high demand, as throughout the year, the NYISO works with power producers, transmission-owning utilities and energy services companies to maintain reliable service to consumers.

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