Midwest, Mid-Atlantic power grid operators issue cold weather alerts ahead of freeze
Houston — Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection and Midcontinent Independent System Operator have issued cold weather alerts spanning this week as sub-zero temperatures are forecast to sweep across the region, driving up heating demand and power prices.
“Back-to-back cold fronts will slice through the eastern two-thirds of the country to deliver one of the coldest arctic air intrusions in recent memory, especially from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley,” the US National Weather Service said. “From Tuesday through Thursday, expect frigid temperatures and bitterly cold wind chills, likely leading to widespread record lows and low maximum temperatures.”
This led SPP on Monday to issue a cold weather alert for Monday through noon Friday across its central and northern regions, as high temperatures across the SPP footprint are forecast to fall as low as 8 degrees Fahrenheit, 33 degrees below seasonal normal, with lows down to minus 4 F, 26 degrees below normal, according to CustomWeather.
“At this time, forward-looking studies do not indicate any reliability or capacity concerns and SPP is not declaring Conservative Operations,” SPP said in the notice.
Peakload is forecast around 35,300 MW Monday, 37,625 MW Tuesday, 39,275 MW Wednesday, 38,275 MW Thursday and 34,350 MW Friday, compared with the January 2018 peakload averaged of 35,700 MW, according to SPP data. SPP South Hub on-peak day-ahead prices were bid at $27/MWh and offered at $/37/MWh on the Intercontinental Exchange, as much as $11 above Friday’s settlement. On-peak balance-of-the-week was bid in the low $30s/MWh and offered in the low $60s/MWh.
In comparison, South Hub on-peak day-ahead and real-time averaged in the low $30s/MWh last January.
Neighboring PJM issued on Monday cold weather alerts for Tuesday through Thursday across its territory as transmission and generation dispatchers are to review plans to determine if any maintenance or testing being performed on any monitoring, control or transmission/generating equipment can be deferred or canceled, according to the alerts. This is the fifth cold weather alert PJM has issued in about a week.
High temperatures across the PJM footprint are forecast to fall as low as minus 15 F, 48 degrees below seasonal normal, with lows expected down to minus 26 F, 45 degrees below normal.
PJM forecast peakload at about 114,200 MW Monday, 116,775 MW Tuesday, 135,000 MW Wednesday, 142,800 MW Thursday and 131,775 MW Friday, above the January 2018 peakload average of nearly 114,900 MW, according to PJM data. PJM West Hub on-peak day-ahead added $4.50 to trade in the mid-$30s/MWh on ICE, as Texas Eastern M-3 spot gas jumped $1.16 to around $4.365/MMBtu for Tuesday delivery on ICE.