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Nashua;69.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/bkn.png;2014-07-24 08:19:32
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Source: ISO-New England
It's a little hard to see, but this chart shows how electricity usage in New England (yellow line) flatlined last Friday when some 200 megawatts of reduction was put into effect under the demand-response program.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How much power did we use in the last heat wave? Sort of a record

Last Saturday, July 20, at the end of the heat wave, peak electricity demand in New England hit 24,653 megawatts, the highest demand ever recorded on a weekend. (Weekend demand tends, not surprisingly, to be lower than weekday demand, so records are kept separately for the two categories.)

I learned this fact in preparing an article about demand response, the system under which the overseer of the power grid (ISO-New England) pays companies to cut back electricity use when necessary. Roughly 200 megawatts of demand response or demand resource was called in on Friday, July 19, to trim the peak load - more than the output of the three Schiller power plants in Portsmouth, combined.

The attached chart shows how actual demand (yellow line) flatlined around noon, when the demand response was called in, instead of continuing to climb as predicted (blue line).

Demand response, as well as energy efficiency programs, is the intelligent way to tackle the need for power, instead of just building more generators - and thus more power lines, which as Northern Pass has demonstrated, can be even more of a sticking point that the generator.