ISO-NE projects slow growth in electricity demand

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New England's electric grid operator predicts slow growth in annual energy usage in the region over the next decade, with slightly quicker growth in peak demand.

A Maine power plant -- the ecomaine Waste-to-Energy plant in Portland, Maine.

ISO New England, Inc. develops an annual long-term load forecast using factors including state and regional economic forecasts and 40 years of weather history.  Its most recent baseline forecast projects a compound annual growth rate of 1.0% in total energy usage in New England from 2015 to 2024.  For 2015, ISO-NE projects 138,745 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of load, growing to 152,280 GWh in 2024.

ISO-NE's forecast also projects future peak demand, a measure of the highest amount of electricity used in a single hour in New England.  Often, peak demand drives the need for constructing and maintaining power plants and transmission lines (and energy efficiency investments).  According to the latest ISO-NE forecast, New England's peak electricity demand is projected to rise by a compound annual growth rate of 1.3%, from 28,395 MW this year to 31,905 MW in 2024.

These baseline projections for future peak demand and energy usage take into account load reductions that can be expected from future installations of distributed solar photovoltaic facilities.  ISO-NE has prepared a separate Distributed Generation Forecast to estimate the load-reducing effects of distributed solar facilities developed as a result of state policy goals.

ISO-NE's baseline projections do not account for significant energy-efficiency savings, neither those committed through the region’s three-year Forward Capacity Market (FCM) nor future savings that can be expected beyond the FCM timeframe.

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