Power System by the Seasons

generationSpring and fall (specifically March 1 to May 31 and September 1 to November 30) are sometimes referred to as “shoulder seasons” because they come between the more energy-intensive summer and winter. Demand on the regional power grid is lower during the shoulder seasons, but that doesn’t mean ISO New England, electricity generators, and transmission providers are taking a break.

transmissionThis is the time of year when the ISO takes stock of the season that just passed and prepares for the challenges of the season ahead. Power generators and transmission providers often use this time to perform routine maintenance and refuel. The ISO also provides forecast information for energy assessments prepared by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NERC and NPCC).

clean energyBecause people aren’t using much energy to heat or cool their homes, spring and fall tend to see lower demand for electricity from the regional power grid. Behind-the-meter photovoltaics (BTM PV) also have a greater impact during the shoulder months—the power these solar panels generate reduces demand on the grid even further. Sometimes this results in lower demand during the day than overnight, a phenomenon referred to as a “duck curve.”

balancing resourcesYear-round, demand tends to peak between the hours of 5 and 6 p.m. as people return home from work and solar production declines or ceases. Whatever the conditions, ISO system operators work around the clock to keep the region’s electricity supply and demand in balance.

weekly peak demand