While the coronavirus outbreak has made a moderate
impact on the demand for power throughout the region served by PJM
Interconnection, the electrical grid continues to operate reliably for 65
million people in 13 states and Washington, D.C. PJM continues to work with
utility partners across the region daily, coordinating generation and
transmission needs as social distancing precautions affect work patterns.
PJM’s observations from March 17–19 show the morning peak arriving one to two hours later than forecast models typically predict – shifting from about 8 a.m. to 9–10 a.m., with the evening peak approximately 5 percent lower than expected. The load curve also is flatter, without the same fluctuations usually shown by morning and evening peaks and valleys, when people are preparing for work in the morning or dinner at night.
PJM is tasked with matching electricity demand and
real-time generation. PJM is in constant contact with federal regulatory and
emergency management officials at the local, state and federal level, and has a
dedicated liaison embedded in the Montgomery County (PA) emergency operations
important job is reliability – we are here to keep the lights on,” PJM
President and CEO Manu Asthana said. “PJM has plans in place to operate safely
in just these kinds of emergency situations, and our incident response team is
PJM also is communicating regularly with stakeholders, and coordinating with the pipeline industry, to share our plans and to ensure we are aware of any issues they are experiencing in terms of generation or transmission. Springtime, when the lack of extreme weather puts less stress on the system, is the time when most maintenance is performed by transmission and generation owners, so PJM is working with those stakeholders to address limitations on work posed by social distancing.
Changes in human behavior are constantly impacting
the grid, and when people are telecommuting, they may be getting up later in
the absence of a commute, and working more consistently over the course of the
day. While we know that there is a reduction in the commercial use of energy as
many schools and businesses are closed or operating remotely, that will be
offset to some extent by an increase in residential usage, with people running
computers, adjusting their thermostats and turning on lights and appliances.
“The impact so far has been noticeable, but not
severe,” said Michael Bryson, Senior Vice President – Operations. “This is
similar to patterns we typically see on a snow day.”
PJM’s load forecasting models use factors like
weather, season, holidays, day of the week, time of day and historical patterns
to forecast load.
On Monday, March 16, for example, PJM would
normally have expected about 100,000 MW of load. With the special circumstances
caused by coronavirus restrictions, the forecast was lowered to about 94,500
MW, and it came in at about 95,500 MW.
Forecasting also involves predicting human
behavior. The models do not explicitly take into account the various social
distancing measures, but they are expected to start picking up on new trends
over time. PJM expects to continue to see continued drop in load, especially as
industries close across the region.
While PJM employs a
variety of computer-assisted modeling, one of our most valuable tools is the
experience of our dispatchers. They are able to take into consideration and
account for unusual conditions that a computer has no way of discerning, such
as this unprecedented shift in our daily lives as a result of the pandemic
factor that will help our forecasting effort is the time of year. Without
extreme heat or cold or corresponding demand for heat or air conditioning, PJM
has been seeing relatively low loads, which is typical for spring. The peak
load in 2019, for instance was over 151,000 megawatts on July 19; the
preliminary estimate for Thursday (March 19) was under 87,000 MW
Already, PJM dispatchers have been able to make
refinements to the forecast that greatly increase its accuracy, and we expect
our models will continue to learn from these conditions and improve as well.
PJM has implemented a work-from-home policy through
April 10 for our employees with the exception of system operators and other
shift personnel, and we have moved to longer shifts for those personnel to
minimize shift changes. PJM successfully tested its work-from-home capabilities
on Friday, March 13, and the PJM markets, planning, stakeholder meetings and
member relations can all be operated remotely.
PJM’s campus near Valley Forge, PA, normally hosts about 400 stakeholder meetings each year for its more than 1,000 members. All of those meetings have moved to teleconference, with campus visits being restricted to critical personnel and vendors.
PJM’s Info-Connection page provides ongoing information and updates about its precautions to maintain the safety and security of its employees, stakeholders and the grid as it monitors the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Original source: PJM