‘Peaker’ Plants to Thank for Reliability During Extreme Heat Waves

Albany, NY – With temperatures in New York City predicted to reach into the high nineties this week, the priority of all energy generators is making sure that New Yorkers keep the lights… and air conditioning on. Keeping an electricity grid reliable in a state with an evenly distributed population is a challenge and keeping a grid in New York City and Long Island reliable with the bottleneck in transmission lines is even more difficult. With a load forecast of just under 30,000 MW, making sure that there is enough electricity to meet this demand is essential.

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As New York has moved towards more intermittent generation, the fuel mix has needed to adapt to ensure grid reliability. Even so, in these hot summer months, it is the generator owners that have a fleet of ‘peaker’ plants to thank. These units are turned on when demand is exceeding the normal curve, in times when there is a substantial load on the electricity system all at once. They usually have quick start up times that can react to the onslaught of appliances being turned on as people look to stay cool during the extremely hot summer days.

IPPNY President and CEO Gavin J. Donohue said, “the extreme heat this week poses a challenge for our power grid as we find ways to stay cool. It is crucial that as we transition to a clean energy future and strive to reach our zero-emissions goal, it is done so without sacrificing reliability of our grid under all circumstances. It is imperative to have contingencies to ensure the lights stay on and the air conditioners can work overtime during heat waves such as this, and ‘peaker’ plants do just that as our energy demands increase.”

Because there is more renewable generation in Upstate New York, but greater demand in New York City, these bottlenecks in transmission need to be alleviated. IPPNY will continue to advocate for market and regulatory changes that not only keep the power on but do so in the most affordable and environmentally responsible manner.


IPPNY is an Albany-based trade association representing companies in the competitive power supply industry in New York State. IPPNY Members generate the majority of New York's electricity using a wide variety of generating technologies and fuels including hydro, nuclear, wind, natural gas, solar, energy storage, biomass, oil, and waste-to-energy. For more information, please visit our website at www.ippny.org.

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