New England should have the resources necessary to meet consumer demand for electricity under both average and above-average temperatures this summer. Under typical weather conditions, electricity demand is forecasted to peak at 24,810 megawatts (MW); above-average summer weather, such as an extended heat wave, could push demand up to 26,711 MW.
More than 31,000 MW of capacity is expected to be available to meet New England consumer demand for electricity. ISO employs a variety of resources to meet demand: generators that produce electricity, using fuels such as natural gas, nuclear, oil, coal, hydro, biomass, and wind; demand-response resources that reduce their energy use; and power imported into New England from New York and Canada.
ISO New England continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer demand for electricity. As COVID-19 vaccination efforts have expanded and New England states have progressed in their reopening efforts, the ISO has seen consumer demand for electricity return to near normal levels after a slight decline. The region’s power system is designed to handle fluctuations in consumer demand, and the pandemic is not expected to pose a reliability threat this summer.
ISO New England prepares short-term forecasts for the summer and winter seasons, taking into account estimated contributions from all resources, including those with and without an obligation through the capacity market to supply electricity; unplanned resource outages; imports from neighboring regions; and resource additions and retirements. These estimates help inform ISO New England’s planning on how to operate the grid during the upcoming peak season.
ISO New England has well-established operating procedures to maintain a reliable supply of electricity in the event of an unexpected power plant or transmission line outage, an extended heat wave that results in increased consumer demand, fuel supply issues or emissions limitations that affect the amount of electric generation available, or a combination of these factors. These procedures include importing emergency power from neighboring regions, calling on power system reserves, and asking businesses and residents to voluntarily conserve energy.
Visit Operating the Power System for more information on one of the ISO’s three critical roles in New England.