Recovery helped boost electric demand
It wasn't our record-setting heat alone that explains the region's all-time peak in demand for electrical power this summer.
The PJM Interconnection, the outfit that manages the production and distribution of power across the grid in Maryland, parts of 12 other states and the District of Columbia, said that after adjusting for the record heat, a reviving economy added another 1 percent to the jump in highest electrical demand.
"It may seem like a small increase, but it's consistent with expected effects of economic recovery," said Michael J. Kormos, PJM's senior vice-president for operations. "It's also a significant change from the reduction in peak demand experienced in 2009, and is the largest increase in weather-adjusted peak demand since 2006 when we recorded our all-time peak."
Peak demand is defined as the maximum demand over one hour. It's the mark that power production facilities must be built to supply, and it is typically reached in summer because of the region's demand for air conditioning.
The Summer of 2010 saw a record-high peak in electric demand across the PJM region, reaching 203.7 million megawatts. That broke the previous record of 203.4 million megawatts, set in 2005. It was 37 percent higher than the average summer peak.
It was the hottest summer on record for Baltimore, averaging 79.3 degrees for the months of June, July and August. That broke the previous record of 79.1 degrees, set in 1943. The city also suffered a record 59 days of 90-degree weather in 2010, and tied the record for the number of 100-degree days (7).
(SUN PHOTO: Lloyd Fox, July 22, 2010)