- PJM Interconnection on Dec. 30 published its 2020 annual long-term load forecast, concluding summer and winter loads will each grow 0.6% annually over the next decade. Of the grid operator's total expected load, 37% is anticipated to be residential, 37% commercial and 26% industrial.
- The grid operator has made significant changes to its load forecasting model, and compared with the 2019 report, the new forecast reduces estimates for the 2020 summer peak by 1.9% or 2,778 MW. Winter load in 2020 is expected to rise 0.1% relative to the previous report.
- This is the first report where PJM has included data on the anticipated load impacts of electric vehicles (EVs). The forecast predicts plug-in vehicle loads will rise from 200 MW in 2020 to an estimated 1,500 MW by 2035, which is less than 0.1% to average annual growth rate.
PJM has made several changes to its forecast to take into account the growth of distributed resources and an increased focus on energy efficiency. In particular, the latest report considers the growing impacts of distributed solar generation, estimates of future installed solar capacity, weather patterns and efficiency in appliances.
The grid operator says residential electricity consumption is expected to grow 0.6% from 2020 to 2035, down from a growth rate of 0.9% from 1998 to 2018. Commercial consumption is expected to grow by 0.6% annually across the same period, down from a 1% growth rate from 1998 to 2018, while industrial consumption is expected to grow 0.4% annually, up from a 0.5% decline between 1998 and 2018.
"That depressed rate is a result of lingering overall effects from the Great Recession," the operator explained in a Jan. 6 blog post.
"Absent the impacts of new solar installations and improving appliance efficiency," PJM said load would have grown by about 1% annually, compared to the current forecast of 0.5% each year. "Of that trim to the load growth rate," the operator said solar accounts for 0.2% and efficiency for 0.3%.
|Year||Summer (0.5% growth)||Winter (0.6% growth)||PJM RTO|
|2020||148, 092 MW||131,287 MW||782,955 GWh|
|2030||157,132 MW||139,970 MW||839,830 GWh|
|2035||159,868 MW||141, 513 MW||857,016 GWh|
SOURCE: PJM Interconnection
Along with the new methodology, PJM's data reflects "the actual volume of electric vehicles sold and their impact on the grid," the operator said.
The forecast estimates each EV will consume up to 4,500 kWh annually.
EV advocates say the move to include plug-in vehicles makes sense, but they expect load impacts will likely need to be increased.
"It only makes sense to include EVs in the load forecast," Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America, told Utility Dive in an email. "The addition of an EV to a household can nearly double their electric consumption."
While EVs currently make up a small fraction of vehicles in the PJM region, "that is expected to change rapidly in the coming years so it is difficult to imagine how they could do any kind of reasonable forecast without taking EVs into account," Levin said.
In 2017, the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation predicted a major boom in EV sales: they expect 7 million will be on the road by 2025 — up from 567,000 at the end of 2016.
Levin expects PJM's estimates will ultimately need to be adjusted. "Given the vast investments in EV technology being made by every single automaker, we think that their 2035 forecast is quite modest and will almost certainly need to be revisited in the next few years," he said.