When that massive “heat bubble” swept the US last week, it was all but a forgone conclusion there would be electric grid problems. Pleas went out nationwide to conserve power and reduce demand. What happened? Well, nothing.
At least nothing major. My quick search didn’t find any reports of the “rolling brownouts” like those experienced in California during a similar heatwave a few years ago. ConEd reported some brownouts but attributed them to equipment outages. Similar reports came in from other utilities but nothing on a scale one would expect for that type of heat.
There are some very intriguing facts emerging. EnerNOC issued a press release this morning saying their demand response network was dispatched at record levels on July 22. PJM Interconnection, one of the larger grid interconnect operators, said they hit a record for peak demand of 158,450 MW on the same day.
While demand response is just part of the solution, the trend is clear – smart grid technology is helping deliver more power more efficiently, reducing risk of major outages. This shouldn’t go unnoticed.