Massachusetts will have enough power to beat summer heat, ISO New England says

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HOLYOKE — New England is expected to have enough electricity to meet peak demand for air conditioning on hot days this summer, grid operator ISO New England said Wednesday.

This summer, typical weather conditions mean electricity demand would peak at 25,323 megawatts. An extended heat wave could push demand up to 27,212 megawatts, ISO said.

ISO said more than 32,000 megawatts of capacity is expected to be available to meet New England consumer demand for electricity.

That number factors in the loss of 680 megawatts of capacity when Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth closes May 31, 2019 after 47 years of operation.

The loss of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is offset by 1,185 megawatts of new capacity from three dual-fuel plants capable of burning gas or oil, five new solar facilities that are expected to add nameplate capability of about 87 megawatts. One new wind farm and increased capacity at another will add about 44 megawatts.

ISO New England also predicts that demand will fall by 700 megawatts during the peak hour because of behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic generating equipment. Behind the meter systems are designed to provide power to a particular building or property and reduce demand on the grid.

Summer heat waves drive demand for air conditioning and power.

Last summer, demand for electricity peaked on Aug. 29 at 25,899 megawatts – the region’s highest peak in five years. Temperatures were in the 90s that day, according to records kept by the National Weather Service.

The record for peak demand was set Aug. 2, 2006, when demand reached 28,130 megawatts.

By : Jim Kinney