Those living in the northeast region of the U.S. can expect normal electric service this summer with no interruptions, according to PJM Interconnection’s Summer Outlook report.
PJM Interconnection is the largest of 10 regional transmission organizations, or RTOs, in the United States. RTOs are independent, non-profit organizations that coordinate the wholesale purchase, supply and demand of electricity, as well as administering and maintaining the regional electric grid.
Currently, 60 percent of the United States’ electricity is managed by an RTO. Nearly all of Pennsylvania is serviced by PJM Interconnection, along with 12 other states and Washington, D.C. PJM’s operational headquarters is located in the Philadelphia region, where teams of highly trained individuals constantly monitor all aspects of the electricity market
As part of its regular maintenance activities, analysts at the PJM generate reports on various aspects of the electricity market and industry, including predictions or forecasts on seasonal electricity capacities. Variables like weather patterns and potential generation capacity are considered along with data from previous seasons to ensure grid stability and mitigate any known issues.
The PJM Summer Outlook for 2023 indicates that it is “prepared to maintain reliability” throughout the summer months. Their assessment anticipates peak summer demand for electricity to sit at approximately 156,000 megawatts (MW) of power per day, up 2,000 MW from the summer of 2022. For context, the highest ever recorded single-day use of power in the PJM’s history was 165,563 MW, which was in 2006.
However, PJM also utilizes several different models to reflect different real-world scenarios to better predict and react to unforeseen variables and events. In the case of a reliability problem, the PJM does have systems in place to mitigate any issues, including a demand response program. Demand response programs are agreements between RTOs and high-usage customers, like data centers, to temporarily reduce supply to them in order to reduce overall demand and the associated load on generators.
That is unlikely to be the case, but PJM is prepared regardless, according to president and CEO Mansu Asthana, who stated that previous instances of vulnerability have “taught us (sic) to prepare for events we have never seen,” adding that “reliability (is PJM’s) top priority”.
The Summer Outlook notes that additional studies have also been conducted into the reliability of systems and overall generation capacity. According to the report, the system has been stress-tested in reliability studies up to 163,000 MW, which is below its overall generation capacity of 186,000 MW.