Adequate Summer Electric Supplies Predicted For New England And New York

May 5, 2017

The organization that oversees the electric grid in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada expects there will be adequate supplies of the power this summer.

The Northeast Power Coordinating Council has completed its annual “Summer Reliability Assessment Summary Report.”  It  forecasts that the six New England states, New York, Ontario, Quebec and Canada’s maritime provinces will have an adequate supply of electricity this summer.   The projections are made based on anticipated use during the historic peak load week in mid-July.

Assistant Vice President of Reliability Services Philip Fedora outlined expectations for New York and New England.   “For New York City and throughout New York State an adequate supply of electricity is forecast this summer.  New York’s 2017 summer forecast peak load is 182 megawatts lower than last summer’s forecast.  New England’s 2017 summer forecast peak demand is 222 megawatts lower than the corresponding 2016 forecast. However if conditions warrant there is a possibility that New England will rely on import capability to maintain reliability.”

NPCC President and CEO Edward Schwerdt explains why their assessment finds that New England may have to import electricity to maintain capacity during peak load.   “With the retirement a major facility within New England and with some delays in the commissioning of newer facilities there is the potential, should we run into severe conditions married with hot humid weather, that New England will fall below what we would want to see as a required operating reserve. Although they're below what we would want to see as a reserve margin they’re well within the operable range so they get an assessment of an adequate level of supply.”

What does the council mean by an “adequate” electric supply?  Fedora explained it’s based on generation and reserves.  “We define our spare operable capacity as the capacity that’s above the generation needed to serve the load and losses plus the reserve requirements that’s need in an area. So with that number a positive number that’s considered an adequate supply.”

While New York, Ontario and Quebec are assessed separately, the capacity of the New England states is grouped as one entity.  Again Edward Schwerdt:  “Because of the regional nature of the bulk electric system operations within New England,  we assess ISO-New England as a region. But also from an ability to move that supply around to the individual major load centers as well as the smaller towns within various pockets of New England.”

Improvements in energy efficiency, conservation and growth in solar are offsetting load growth, leading to an overall peak demand forecast that is 1,113 megawatts lower than last year.

NPCC is one of eight regional entities in North America that coordinates the electric grid reliability.