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April 27, 2017 CT Green Guide

Electricity demand could peak higher this summer

Denna | Morguefile Air conditioners are one of the key drivers of peak electricity demand in the summer months.

Summer electricity demand in New England this year could reach a higher peak than last summer, New England’s grid operator said Wednesday.

ISO-New England said it expects to have adequate electricity supplies to meet forecasted peak demand, which is largely driven by air conditioning, but warned that an extended heat wave could mean tight supply margins.

Exacerbating the scenario are expected delays in as many as 700 megawatts of new generation coming online. In addition, Brayton Point, a 1,500-megawatt coal and oil plant in Massachusetts, is set to retire on May 31.

ISO-NE anticipates peak summer demand to be 26,482 megawatts across the six states. That forecast assumes normal temperatures of about 90 degrees. Demand peaked last summer at 25,466 megawatts on Aug. 12.

If an extended heat wave hits this summer, ISO-NE said demand could peak at 28,865 megawatts. That would beat a 2006 peak demand record of 28,130 megawatts, which came during a prolonged heat wave that year.

The grid operator said it has 29,400 megawatts of generation capacity at its disposal.

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