Summer is just a few days away, and our regional grid is ready to handle the heat, so to speak.
Leading up to summer, our grid operators and engineers have been busy with preparations to ensure the regional grid can reliably meet rising electricity demand, as more people turn on their air conditioners to stay cool.
Every year, we plan for the summer by investing in infrastructure improvements to enhance the reliability and resiliency of our system. Investments we have made within the last year include completing a new 15-mile transmission line from the Sycamore Canyon Substation to the Penasquitos Substation in north-central San Diego and installing new equipment (an additional synchronous condenser) to help maintain voltage stability, as the regional grid integrates a growing amount of renewable energy.
From an electric supply perspective, our region is well-positioned to meet customer demand with a mix of locally generated electricity and imported electricity. Should the grid experience strain due to high demand, we have robust conservation incentive programs in place for both residential and commercial customers.
Our engineers have run various simulations to ensure our system is capable of meeting higher energy demand, even if unforeseen circumstances arise.
“To ensure reliable operation of the SDG&E electric grid, studies were performed at various system load levels, up to the 1-in-10-year peak load forecast, under numerous generation and import conditions,” said Ali Yari, director of electric grid operations.
State Energy Outlook is Positive
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) forecasts adequate power for this summer largely because of above-normal hydroelectric supplies. Snowpack was measured at 162 percent of average as of April 2, 2019, compared to 52 percent of average in 2018. Major statewide reservoir storage levels were at 109 percent of normal.
Given the significant hydroelectric resources, you may wonder why ISO called a Flex Alert on June 11, asking Californians to voluntarily conserve energy. It is due to a convergence factors: a wide spread heat wave driving demand on the grid, while two units with total generation of 1,260 MW were offline due to mechanical failures.
While SDG&E does not anticipate any local reliability issues, California’s power grid is interconnected which means something that happens in the north can ultimately affect us in the south. This concern is exactly why we are taking precautions now to prepare for the upcoming summer months.
We will continue to remain closely coordinated with the California ISO for the benefit of our customers.