PJM says will have plenty of power this winter; forwards rise
The PJM Interconnection expects to have 36% more power capacity than its forecast peak demand this winter, the independent system operator said Wednesday, but January-February packages across the grid operator’s footprint nevertheless strengthened.
PJM expects to have 184,926 MW of resources — generation and demand response — to meet forecast peak demand of 135,526 MW, an increase of 3.57% from last winter’s peak of 130,689 MW, set on December 15, 2016, during what turned out to be a milder-than-average season.
With details of the higher peakload forecast emerging, PJM West Hub on-peak January-February packages increased around 10:30 am EST (1530 GMT) Wednesday by about $1.50 to near $48/MWh on the Intercontinental Exchange.
PJM set its all-time winter peakload of 143,295 MW on February 20, 2015.
“Mild or severe weather, no matter what the winter brings, we are prepared and expect to have more than enough power available to meet consumers’ demand for electricity,” Michael Bryson, PJM vice president for operations, said in a statement.
This winter, PJM expects a weak La Nina condition in the equatorial Pacific Ocean to lead to a colder winter than those of the past two years. La Nina is a condition of below-normal sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific Ocean that tends to correlate with certain weather patterns in North America.
Also, the polar vortex phenomenon shifted southward in August, and PJM said: “If this trend continues, the risk of periods of Arctic cold will be greater.”
The polar vortex is a circular upper air weather pattern that is usually penned in by the jet stream, but the vortex occasionally breaks off or moves south, bringing unusually cold weather.
PJM also expects precipitation to be above-normal in the Great Lakes region and below average in the southern part of PJM’s 13-state footprint.