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Largest US Power Grid Stays On Emergency Alert Due To Ongoing Heat Wave

PJM Interconnection, the largest operator of the US electric grid, recently issued an urgent notification and requested power plants to run at maximum output due to an ongoing severe heatwave impacting the nation. PJM is responsible for supplying electricity in 13 states along with the Washington D.C. region, serving a total of 65 million individuals.

As per the emergency notice issued on July 27, the company expressed uncertainty about its ability to maintain the necessary electrical contingency reserves.

“A Hot Weather Alert helps to prepare transmission and generation personnel and facilities for extreme heat and/or humidity that may cause capacity problems on the grid. Temperatures are expected to go above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32°C) across the footprint, which drives up the demand for electricity.”

Elevated temperatures typically put pressure on electric grids as a greater number of individuals utilize air conditioners and cooling systems. Companies overseeing larger electrical loads often seek support from other firms to manage these surges in demand.

The statement added, “A dedicated team of operators uses sophisticated technology to balance supply and demand and direct the power grid 24/7 from PJM’s control rooms. They prepare multiple potential scenarios that could be impacted by weather, emergency conditions, or equipment failure. They adjust resource output with changes in demand and ensure that no transmission lines or facilities are overloaded. The team also watches for unusual conditions and reacts to them to protect the electricity supply.”

On July 27 and 28, PJM Interconnection issued a maximum generation alert, forecasting a regional transmission organization (RTO) load of around 150,700 megawatts on July 27 and 152,800 megawatts on July 28. However, on July 29, the company rescinded the maximum generation alert, though emergency measures to address the heat wave are still in place.

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