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PJM: Electrification Will Raise Power Demand Peaks in the Long Term

Electrification of transport and homes, as well as consumer demand for all kinds of technology, are set to continuously raise electricity demand for summer and winter peaks in the United States, the biggest U.S. grid operator, PJM Interconnection, said in its long-term load forecast this week.        

Estimated electricity demand is expected to grow by 1.7% per year for summer peaks, by 2% for winter peaks, and by 2.4% for net energy over a 10-year planning horizon starting in 2024, said PJM Interconnection, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity and ensures power supplies for 65 million people in all or parts of 13 eastern and Midwest U.S. states and D.C.   

The 2024 summer forecast peak demand, or load, is expected at 151,254 MW, according to the 2024 PJM Load Forecast Report. The summer peak load is seen increasing to 178,895 MW in 2034 and 193,123 MW in 2039.

Peak winter load is forecast at 134,663 MW for the 2023–2024 winter. This load would jump to 164,824 MW in 2034 and 178,241 MW in 2039, according to PJM Interconnection.  

Total annual energy use throughout the PJM footprint is expected to increase by nearly 40% by 2039, from 800,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to about 1.1 million GWh, the grid operator said.

“This forecast reflects the accelerated growth that we discussed with our stakeholders throughout 2023, driven by the electrification of multiple sectors combined with consumer demands for technology,” said Kenneth S. Seiler, Sr. Vice President – Planning.

“It also underscores the need to maintain and develop enough generation resources to serve that growing demand,” Seiler added.

PJM has noted that increased electricity demand, combined with accelerated generator retirements and the slow pace of replacement generation, will challenge reliability in the PJM footprint by 2030 if not addressed, the company said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite tens of billions of U.S. dollars earmarked for grid modernization, the United States continues to face challenges in making sweeping investments in upgrading electricity systems and making them more resilient to extreme weather. As heat waves and winter storms continue to test the reliability of the U.S. power grid, the modernization actions and investments are constrained by the shared federal and state jurisdiction over the systems, regulatory issues, and politics.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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