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PJM 2012 Load Forecast Now Out — Same Old Story

January 18, 2012

Here is a link to the new 2012 PJM Interconnection load forecast.  This report is an attempt to predict winter and summer peak load for the next fifteen years.

This year’s load forecast repeats the pattern we have become used to with each passing year:

  • Each year’s actual load number fall below the previous years’ predictions
  • Each year the previous year’s projections for the next 15 year period are revised downward
  • PJM continues to base its load projections on unrealistic economic forecasts resulting in inaccurate load projections for the future.

Each year, PJM identifies key projections in important years of its planning process compared with the previous year’s projection.  Here is the table from last year’s load projection:

Compared to the 2010 Load Report, the new PJM RTO summer peak forecast shows
the following changes for three years of interest:
o The next delivery year – 2011 -2,585 MW (-1.9%)
o The next RPM auction year – 2014 -2,797 MW (-1.9%)
3,090 MW (1.9%) – with ATSI, DEOK
o The next RTEP study year – 2016 -3,925 MW (-2.5%)
1,796 MW (1.1%) – with ATSI, DEOK

Here is that exact same table from this year’s executive summary:

Compared to the 2011 Load Report, the new PJM RTO summer peak forecast shows
the following changes for three years of interest:
o The next delivery year – 2012 -4,821 MW (-3.0%)
o The next RPM auction year – 2015 -3,338 MW (-2.0%)
o The next RTEP study year – 2017 -2,000 MW (-1.2%)

At every key year of PJM’s RTEP process, this year’s projections are lower than the previous year’s projections.  In the 2010 Load Report, PJM had added two new power companies to the cartel, so they broke out the loads for those companies separately.  Those companies have now been integrated fully into the 2012 load report.

As you can see, the difference between 2011 and 2012 projections is actually higher than the difference between the 2010 and 2011 projections.  The load projections appear to actually get worse and worse as time goes on.

As in last year’s load report PJM stated that their rosy economic projections have been wrong:

The combination of the new economic driver and a downward revision to the economic outlook for the PJM area has resulted in lower peak and energy forecasts in this year’s report, compared to the same year in last year’s report.

In my post on the 2010 load forecast report, I provided one of the graphs for PJM’s projection of summer peak in a power company service area for a company identified by the initials DPL which stands for Delmarva Power & Light, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, on the Delmarva Peninsula.  Here is the DPL graph from the 2012 report:

You will note that there is an uptick in 2011, but normalized summer peak was still below the 2007 level.  Also note that the actual normalized summer peak was significantly below what PJM predicted it would be just last year.  If PJM’s one year prediction was off by that much, how far off will their 15 year projection be?

And the DPL load zone is actually one of the better looking graphs.  Many load zones did not show an increase in 2011 normalized summer peak.

The 2011 summer peak also gives you a good picture of what “normalized” means.  Statisticians “normalize” data to remove impacts of extreme variations in factors influencing the numbers they are studying so that they can compare numbers from one year to the next on a more or less uniform scale.  In this case, PJM normalizes for variations in weather, particularly temperature.  You can see that the black line, the actual summer peak, was much higher than the normalized red line in 2011.  That was because we had a very hot July this summer compared with normal July temperatures.  In 2010, summer must have been about average in temperature, because normalized and actual peaks were about the same.  In 2009, the summer was cooler than normal and normalized peak was actually higher than the actual peak.  In these graphs, the red normalized lines are what you should compare with the green normalized projections.

You can also see the new 2012 map of PJM in the report.  On that map, below, you can see that with the addition of FirstEnergy and Duke Energy, the PJM cartel now controls all of Ohio.

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