PJM forecasts 17.7% reserve margin for summer

PJM Interconnection Inc., the grid operator serving the mid-Atlantic states, is forecasting a 17.7% reserve margin this summer, including firm electricity imports and assuming all units are operating. However, the reserve margin dips to a single digit 9% when a 9% historic outage rate at the summer peak is included.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 7 -- PJM Interconnection Inc., the grid operator serving the mid-Atlantic states, is forecasting a 17.7% reserve margin this summer, including firm electricity imports and assuming all units are operating.

However, the reserve margin could dip to a single digit 9% when a 9% historic outage rate at the summer peak is included.

PJM Friday also projected a record summer peak load totaling 52,977 Mw, or 51,358 Mw after subtracting load management and contractual interruptible load. That's up from a peak load of 51,161 Mw during summer 2000.

The largest of the nation's independent system operator's (ISO), PJM's service area includes all or part of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. It handles about 8% of the country's electric power.

Anticipated net generating capacity will total 60,004 Mw, up from 58,256 Mw last summer. PJM said 12,987 Mw of nuclear power � all that is available within the region will be in operation this summer.

Presently, 2.5% of existing generation is solely gas fired, while 14.2% of generation is gas-fired with an alternate fuel backed. Between April and June, PJM is forecasting capacity to rise by 3,115 Mw, including "all fuel types."

The ISO said it could not estimate how much gas will be required to serve the expected new generating capacity, but it requires capacity units to submit proof of firm gas rights. Should developers withdraw or cancel plans due to high gas and oil prices, PJM said it has a process that "provides for specific actions on the part of the generation developer who withdraws a project." It said these provisions include payments to support network enhancements and other project costs.

The ISO said 2,975 Mw of firm transmission service has been reserved for exports out of PJM through the 2001 peak summer period, but none of the transactions are backed by capacity and therefore can be curtailed if there is a PJM capacity emergency. Exports to southeastern New York will be reduced because of damage to phase-shifting transformers in the area.

PJM said in the event of a capacity emergency it will call on interruptible load, followed by curtailment of nonessential utility load, a 5% voltage reduction, voluntary load shedding, and rotating outages. For reserve emergencies, the ISO said it will solicit emergency energy through marketers, recall energy sales out of PJM, purchase emergency energy, and load maximum energy generation.

Winter demand peaked at 42,581 Mw, up 274 Mw from last year's.

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