Winter peak load growth for PJM projected to average 0.9% per year over next 10 years

 Winter peak load growth for PJM Interconnection is projected to average 0.9% per year over the next 10-year period, and 0.8% over the next 15 years, according to the January 2014 PJM Load Forecast Report prepared by the PJM Resource Adequacy Planning Department.

The PJM winter peak load in 2023/24 is forecast to be 144,496 MW, a 10-year increase of 12,777 MW, and reaches 148,423 MW in 2028/29, a 15-year increase of 16,704 MW. Annualized 10-year growth rates for individual zones range from 0.3% to 1.7%.

The report also noted that summer peak load growth for PJM is projected to average 1.0% per year over the next 10 years, and 0.9% over the next 15 years. The PJM summer peak is forecast to be 173,852 MW in 2024, a 10-year increase of 16,453 MW, and reaches 180,137 MW in 2029, a 15-year increase of 22,738 MW. Annualized 10-year growth rates for individual zones range from 0.4% to 1.8%, the report added.

Compared to the 2013 Load Report, the 2014 PJM summer peak forecast shows these changes for three years of interest:

  • The next delivery year, 2014: -1,318 MW (-0.8%).
  • The next reliability pricing model (RPM) auction year, 2017: -2,777 MW (-1.7%).
  • The next regional transmission expansion plan (RTEP) study year, 2019: -3,457 MW (-2.0%).

Assumptions for future load management have decreased from the 2013 Load Report, from about 14,600 MW to 12,400 MW. Energy efficiency impacts have decreased from about 1,100 MW to 900 MW. The report further noted that assumptions for load management and energy efficiency are based on RPM auction results.

All load models were estimated with historical data from January 1998 through August 2013. The models were simulated with weather data from 1974 through 2012, generating 507 scenarios.

The report further noted that the forecasts of these zones have been adjusted to account for large and unanticipated load changes:

  • American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP): the loss of an aluminum smelter decreases the summer peak by 370 MW in all years.
  • Allegheny Power zone: rapid expansion of load to serve hydraulic fracturing facilities adds 80 MW to 120 MW to the summer peak.
  • Baltimore Gas and Electric, an Exelon (NYSE:EXC) company: an undisclosed project currently under construction adds 120 MW to 315 MW to the summer peak.
  • Dominion Virginia Power, a Dominion (NYSE:D) company: substantial ongoing growth in data center construction adds 288 MW to 896 MW to the summer peak.

The report also included a December 2013 summary of the November 2013 U.S. Macro Forecast by Moody’s Analytics, which noted that changes to the near-term outlook for the PJM service territory are similar to those in the U.S. macro forecast, adding, “Removing the drags of fiscal policy uncertainty on private business investment and consumer spending will lead to stronger growth in the first half of 2014.”

Real gross domestic production (GDP) in the service territory is forecast to rise 2.3% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2015.

In discussing the long-term outlook, the summary added that the southernmost metro areas are expected to be among the fastest growing in the PJM service territory. Despite a weaker long-term forecast, in-migration and household formation will rebound further in 2014 and will drive growth in consumer-based services including education/healthcare and leisure/hospitality.

Among other things, the summary also noted that Virginia metro areas, such as Lynchburg and Richmond, as well as Bowling Green, Ky., are expected to lead with average annual real GDP growth of 2% or more.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3231 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at