Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Falling Like Dominoes

EEI Newsletter continues to report serious problems for the nation's electric system due to the heat caused by global climate change:

Demand Records 'Falling Like Dominoes' in Heat Wave, EEI Says

The sweltering heat wave running across the United States is straining the nation's power grid, various news reports said. EEI President Tom Kuhn was quoted by the Washington Post today as saying: "Electricity demand records are falling like dominoes. The system is being tested everywhere." In New York City, where city building managers were instructed to reduce usage, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted by the New York Times as saying: "This is a very serious, dangerous heat wave. We're all tough, but a little bit of common sense and a little bit of cooperation will go a long ways here." The Times also reported that PJM Interconnection was calling for conservation steps.

ConEd CEO Kevin M. Burke, who made his first appearance at a New York City Council hearing testifying about the recent Queens outages, told the Times he remained "most concerned" about what the newspaper called "the still-fragile power network that covers western Queens, where he said there was a higher risk of another power failure in the coming days."

In the Washington metropolitan area, Pepco and Dominion Virginia Power reported no significant heat-related problems, the Washington Post reported, but conservation requests have been issued. Wrote the Post: "Unlike the electricity transmission grid in California, which has not built power generating plants fast enough to meet growing electricity demand, the regional grid that includes Washington has enough generating capacity, officials said."

PJM spokesman Ray Dotter told the Post that the network "expected to supply a peak of 143,000 megawatts of power an hour today - which would break the record of 139,747 megawatts set during the region's last heat wave two weeks ago."
Associated Press (New Jersey) via the Philadelphia Inquirer , Associated Press (Wisconsin) via Janesville, Wis., Gazette , New York Sun , New York Times (Large clients) , New York Times (Heat wave) , New York Times (PJM) , Washington Post , Aug. 1


Xan said...

Of course we should note here that the "newly constructed generating capacity" of which the DC powerco rep is so proud is most likely burning natural gas.

The price of which yesterday hit a spike back to the level last seen in February.

And a large number of the wells that have been offline since Katrina are not oil producers but gas ones. And the latest track of Tropical Storm Chris are not of a particularly optimistic nature in this regard.

Meaning that the gas being burned for electricity now is most likely coming out of the reserves being built up for next winter. In either case bills for electric now are going to be awful, and bills for heating gas next winter could very well be ghastly.

This is why I prefer the term "climate change" to "global warming." The problem is fluctuations from the previous "normal". But people seem to be going to the assumption that both summers and winters will be warmer than they used to be and so we should just try getting used to that as a new normal. There is no normal any more.

Anonymous said...

I am writing from Toronto, it is currently 36 deg., 45 with humidity, in other words quite as hot as the rest of the eastern states. With all this desperate screaming for more electricity to cool us down, I have not heard a single word about Toronto hydro's
$multi- million project where they
pump cool lake water from a depth of some 250' to cool a large part of downtown. When completed, this project will save perhaps a megawatt of electricity. The problem with projects like this, they do not pay dividends in the first few years, so not suitable for the American way of doing business.

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