NE power grid demand falls to its lowest level ever

Part of shift caused by solar power on homes

DEMAND FOR ELECTRICITY from the New England power grid fell to an all-time low on Sunday, a reflection of the weather and the region’s embrace of solar power.

Sunday was a very pleasant day, with mild temperatures, sunshine, and Sunday’s relatively low demand for electricity. The combination meant homeowners didn’t need heat or air conditioning, and the sunshine allowed homeowners with solar panels to generate more than 4,000 megawatts of power on their own.

Overall, demand for power from the grid fell to 7,580 megawatts during the afternoon, the lowest level since ISO-New England began operating the grid in 1997.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Five years ago, on Sunday May 6, 2017, power demand from the grid was 10,929 megawatts.

The demand for power from the grid last Sunday reflects how electricity demand is evolving. Traditionally, demand for power from the grid is lowest at night when most people are sleeping. With more and more solar power being produced by homeowners, however, the lowest demand for electricity from the grid is starting to occur more and more in the afternoon if the weather conditions are right.

The first time demand for power from the grid was lower in the afternoon than at night was on April 21, 2018. It happened 35 more times through the end of 2021 and it has happened 29 times so far this year.