NEWS: Energy and environmental policy
What is the deal with new large loads?

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February 16, 2024

In the last year we have seen an explosion of new “large load” growth being projected across the US at a pace that far exceeds historical levels. These electric demands are reflective of onshoring of industrial manufacturing in line with the IRA and CHIPS, and a surge in technology innovation driving a significant computing demand for data centers, AI, and cryptocurrency.

Near-term large load growth, combined with the coming wave of electrification of vehicles, buildings, and some industrial uses needed to achieve deep decarbonization, creates the potential for massive mid-term and long-term load growth. These higher levels of electric load growth are going to be regionally clustered, where both new large loads and electrification are concentrated, for example in Arizona and Virginia.

Graph showing growth in New Large Loads between 2023 and 2038 for both Arizona Public Service and PJM - Dominion with additional load growth due to high electrification increasing load through 2050.
Sources: APS 2023 Integrated Resource Plan, Dominion Virginia Electric and Power Company 2023 Integrated Resource Plan, “High Electrification” estimates for transportation, buildings, and industry based on national net zero scenario developed for US Climate Alliance.

If we are going to meet these new loads without derailing our clean electricity and climate goals, we will need to rapidly build out new renewables, storage, and transmission faster than ever before, while keeping a close eye on electric reliability and customer affordability. At E3, we have been on the forefront of analyzing how the grid of today needs to transform to accommodate a diverse set of new loads.

E3 is actively working on these issues across North America, including:

Tory Clark, partner at E3, presented on some of these topics at a workshop in February 2024. Her slides are linked here.

filed under: Energy and environmental policy

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