PJM offers updated load forecast for the next few years

PJM Interconnection on Dec. 30 released a report that represents an independent load forecast prepared by PJM staff and includes long-term forecasts of peak loads, net energy, load management and distributed solar generation for each PJM zone, region, locational deliverability area, and the total regional transmission organization (RTO).

All load models were estimated with historical data from January 1998 through August 2015. The models were simulated with weather data from years 1994 through 2014, generating 273 scenarios. The economic forecast used was Moody’s Analytics’ October 2015 release.

Since the 2015 report, PJM has significantly revised its load forecast model. The treatment of weather has been restructured to provide more variable load response to weather across a wide range of conditions. Three variables (cooling, heating, and other) were added to account for trends in equipment/appliance saturation and efficiency, and distributed solar generation is now reflected in the historical load data used to estimate the models, with a separately-derived solar forecast used to adjust load forecasts.

The PJM RTO weather-normalized summer peak for 2015 was 150,295 MW (using the new normalization method). The projection for the 2016 PJM RTO summer peak is 152,131 MW, an increase of 1,836 MW, or 1.2%, from the 2015 normalized peak.

Summer peak load growth for the PJM RTO is projected to average 0.6% per year over the next 10 years, and 0.6% over the next 15 years. The PJM RTO summer peak is forecasted to be 161,891 MW in 2026, a 10-year increase of 9,760 MW, and reaches 167,469 MW in 2031, a 15-year increase of 15,338 MW. Annualized 10-year growth rates for individual zones range from -0.1% to 1.2%.

Winter peak load growth for PJM RTO is projected to average 0.8% per year over the next 10-year period, and 0.8% over the next 15-years. The PJM RTO winter peak load in 2025/26 is forecasted to be 140,912 MW, a 10-year increase of 10,669 MW, and reaches 146,225 MW in 2030/31, a 15-year increase of 15,982 MW. Annualized 10-year growth rates for individual zones range from 0% to 1.6%.

Compared to the 2015 Load Report, the 2016 PJM RTO summer peak forecast shows the following changes for three years of interest:

  • The next delivery year – 2016, -5,781 MW (-3.7%)
  • The next RPM auction year – 2019, -5,660 MW (-3.5%)
  • The next RTEP study year – 2021, -8,406 MW (-5.1%)
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.