Summer Heat May Be a Factor
Heat waves create stress on power grids both by increasing cooling demand and by creating more difficult conditions for plants to operate in. And in many regions, this year’s heat has been more intense than ever, with 2020 set to be the hottest year on record.
It’s part of a continuing trend. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), heat waves have grown more frequent over recent years.
COVID Shutdowns Increasing Residential Cooling?
The effects of this year’s heat have been compounded by COVID-19 lockdowns in many ways. Prior to the summer, grid operators like NYISO noted that, while overall electricity usage had been down significantly during the early months of the pandemic, increased use of residential air conditioning could be a factor in peak loads remaining high during the summer because people were likelier than normal to be at home this summer. Not only does residential A/C tends to be less efficient than commercial systems, but homes also tend to require more cooling per person than denser office or commercial space.
In New England, the grid operator ISO-NE notes that air conditioning load has been a contributor to higher-than-forecast demand.
DR Does Its Part
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for businesses and citizens alike, and some companies have had to make radical changes to their strategies. Many businesses have had to adjust their planned demand response participation, but are still making efforts to participate.
Any participation in demand response is a crucial contribution to a stable grid and a stable community. By supporting the grid in times of peak demand, DR helps keeps local electricity running smoothly.