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NYISO prepared for 31,765 MW forecast summer peak power demand


Future reliability questioned

Power plant retirements in 2023, 2025

  • Author
  • Jared Anderson
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition

The New York Independent System Operator said May 27 that electricity supplies in New York State are expected to be adequate this summer, with a total of 41,049 MW of power resources available to meet forecast peak demand of 31,765 MW. However, reliability margins could thin to "concerning levels" beginning in 2023, the grid operator said.

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"New York's bulk electric system is prepared to handle forecasted demand this summer," Emilie Nelson, executive vice president of the NYISO, said in a statement. "However, especially with recent generator retirements, economic uncertainty, and extreme weather, we must move carefully with the grid in transition to maintain system reliability in the future."

The NYISO forecasts that peak demand this summer will reach 31,765 MW, a 562-MW decrease from the 2021 baseline forecast, with most of the decrease in this summer's peak load forecast attributable to growth in distributed solar power resources, which reduce the volume of power that needs to be supplied by the bulk power system, the grid operator said.

The NYISO also found that reliability would be maintained under more extreme weather scenarios if peak demand increases to as much as 35,436MW.

Last summer's peak power demand of 30,919 MW was reached on June 29 and New York recorded a record peak of 33,956 MW in July 2013, at the end of a week-long heat wave, according to the NYISO.

There have been 159.1 MW of nameplate capacity generation deactivations since last summer and by June 30, there will be 142.9 MW of generation capacity additions, all from solar power installations, according to a NYISO presentation given during a press briefing with reporters.

Thinning reliability margins

NYISO executives flagged the grid operator's 2021 Comprehensive Reliability Plan that evaluated power grid reliability through 2030 and found that reserve margins "will shrink in upcoming years due primarily to the planned unavailability of simple cycle combustion turbines impacted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's 'Peaker Rule.'"

The Peaker Rule is intended to phase out less efficient power plants that run when demand is high by tightening greenhouse gas emissions limits in upcoming years. "New York may experience even smaller resource adequacy margins if additional power plants become unavailable or if demand is greater than forecasted," the NYISO said in the statement.

While not a factor for summer 2022 reliability, expected generator deactivations under the DEC's Peaker Rule will take effect in 2023 and 2025, Nelson said during the press briefing.

Responding to a question about what the NYISO has done to prepare for these reliability challenges, Nelson said "a lot of the focus has been on scenario analysis to really understand the multiple pathways that could be part of the future we need to prepare for."

That is augmented by continuing reliability analysis and evaluation of what conditions have changed on the grid to understand the risks heading into peak periods like this summer, she said.

"We certainly believe that using competitive markets and investments made in New York to have a strong five-minute dispatch signal to all resources on the grid to support reliability is critical," Nelson said, adding that the grid operator is evaluating market design changes to ensure the NYISO has the resource attributes needed to preserve reliability.

Asked if the thinning reserve margins associated with the Peaker Rule have triggered measures to keep certain plants online for reliability, Nelson said that generation resources are required to provide a year's notice of deactivation and the NYISO is just starting to evaluate the planned 2023 deactivations and that process will give a better view of any potential reliability issues.