Winter Brings New Congestion Risks: December’s Congestion Patterns & Drivers | Congestion Watch Blog

Published November 9, 2021 | congestion-watch

The start of winter signals the end of generator maintenance season and a shift away from supply-stack driven congestion towards load and transmission driven congestion. Certain load pocket zones across the Northeast are susceptible to import constraints leading to elevated congestion risk and higher power prices. ESAI expects high natural gas prices to play a key role in December congestion patterns.

Here is a high level overview of each RTO for December:

  • PJM Update – minimal generator maintenance and nuclear outages will support a healthy supply stack across the region. However, high-voltage transmission outages in December pose upside risk for EMAAC. A slew of outages in PJM West will drive congestion in AEP and COMED.
  • NYISO Update – Warmer-than-normal temperatures moderate demand-driven risk in NYISO next month, leaving transmission outages to be the main congestion culprit. Transmission work in the Hudson Valley region, NYC, and on Long Island will be bullish for downstate NY.
  • ISO-New England Update – Periods of freezing temperatures and high natural gas prices in ISO-NE could pose intense risk to the gas-fired generation supply stack. Potential fuel supply issues, paired with a handful of 345 kV outages will drive congestion risk in the market.

Subscribers: Find out more about congestion drivers in December in our recent issue of Congestion Watch.

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Congestion WatchTM Ahead of each monthly Firm Transmission Rights (FTR) auction in the Northeast, our monthly congestion report provides month-ahead assessments of the congestion component of zonal LMPs for each Northeast RTO. Congestion WatchTM provides expert insights into key drivers for congestion pricing such as transmission and generation outages, system load and changes to fuel prices.