Thursday, July 27, 2023

PJM issues a Energy Emergency Alert level One


from PJM

Last night PJM our regional grid operator and the largest grid operator in the nation issued a Maximum Generation Emergency/Load Management Alert and an Energy Emergency Alert level one (EEA1) for today. That means PJM is concerned about being able to maintain adequate power reserves today, July 27, 2023 when the heat wave hits almost the entire region and consumers and businesses turn up their air conditioners. PJM has ordered all power plants to be online and ready for the load and for consumers enrolled in demand-response programs to be ready to curtail their electricity usage to keep power supply stable.

Early this morning, the regional grid was looking like this:

At 5 am  the were 19, 960 MW of coal generation, 47,990 MW of gas generation, 32,356 MW of nuclear generation, and 1,828 MW of wind generation. The small amount of solar in the system was not yet on-line as it has to wait for the sun. During the day as the region heats up and the power demand grows, the share of gas generation will grow as the dispatchable generation is called on-line. 

Data center operations relies on the use of large amounts of electricity from the grid. Cooling their buildings is essential to maintain their servers though their power demand is mostly flat throughout the day.  When the DEQ was considering a variance for data centers to step off the grid to relieve the load, the Washington Post stated that : “Since 2020, three “Maximum Generation Emergency Load Alerts” have been issued — all of them last year, according to the PJM website.”  It appears that these types of emergencies will be more frequent.

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