- The PJM Interconnection has tripled its growth expectations for electricity use in its footprint over the next decade, and sharply increased its summer and winter peak load forecasts compared to last year.
- PJM expects its summer and winter peak load will grow by 1.7% and 2% a year on average through 2034, up from 0.4% and 0.7% growth, respectively, in last year’s forecast, according to its annual load forecast released Monday. The grid operator anticipates electricity use in its footprint will soar 2.4% annually through the decade, up from 0.8% growth expectations last year.
- The forecast growth is driven by the electrification of the vehicle and industrial sectors combined with consumer demands for technology, according to Kenneth Seiler, PJM’s senior vice president of planning. “It also underscores the need to maintain and develop enough generation resources to serve that growing demand,” he said in a statement.
PJM’s annual load forecasts are a key input for its capacity auctions, which the grid operator uses to make sure it has sufficient power supplies three years in the future. The grid operator’s next capacity auction is set to be held in June and then every six months through May 2026. The forecasts also feed into PJM’s transmission planning process.
PJM’s annual load forecast comes amid concerns that power plants may retire more quickly than they can be replaced, possibly leaving the grid operator with a supply shortfall late this decade.
In its forecast, PJM assumes that electric vehicle load will rocket to nearly 13,530 MW by 2034, up from about 500 MW this year.
It also expects distributed solar will reduce summer peak load by about 5,115 MW in 2034, up from about 3,140 MW this year while behind-the-meter battery storage will lower summer peak by about 645 MW in 2034, up from 25 MW this year.
PJM anticipates its summer peak will jump to nearly 179 GW in the next 10 years, up from almost 147 GW last year. It is looking for its winter peak to climb to almost 165 GW in the 2033/2034 winter from 135 GW last winter.
The grid operator projects that its net energy load will jump by almost 220,000 GWh to 1 million GWh in 2034.
The PJM zones with the highest annual 10-year net energy growth rates over the coming decade are: Dominion Energy at 7.4%; Metropolitan Edison at 3%; Jersey Central Power & Light at 2.7%; American Electric Power at 2.1%; and Public Service Electric & Gas at 2%, according to the report.
In a change from its previous load forecasts, PJM said it added an extreme cold weather variable to its modeling in response to Winter Storm Elliott and other extreme weather events.
PJM runs the grid and wholesale power markets in 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states and the District of Columbia.