Modernizing Utility Load Forecasting

Navigant’s Ken Seiden discusses a Public Utilities Fortnightly article, Solving the Utility Load Forecasting Conundrum, on utility load forecasting with Utility Dive

In a Utility Dive article about problems with load forecasting in the utility industry, managing director of Navigant's global Energy practice, Ken Seiden, commented and discussed his recent article in Public Utilities Fortnightly, Solving the Utility Load Forecasting Conundrum.

According to Seiden, a more comprehensive approach to load forecasting is required to progress from electricity demands forecasted nearly 50 years earlier.

In Utility Dive's article, author Robert Walton explains that the demand for electricity in the United States rose dramatically starting in the 1950s when it rose “faster than the economy grew.” However, as decades went on and technology evolved, the markets restructured to a point where demand growth fell to less than one percent. Today, regional transmission operators predict declining loads.

“There's been a lot of mistakes for several years,” Seiden told Utility Dive. “Utilities have been predicting load growth and seeing flat load growths.”

Since these changes, over-forecasting has averaged one percent each year. This change came as a result of the United States’ recent recession and recovery, which caused a rebound in electricity demand when the impact of distributed energy resources and energy efficiency technology initially took effect.

"Models in load forecasting are designed to predict well when they have some history and data to go on, and to isolate factors of economic activity and electricity prices and technology changes. Right now, we've got technology changing so fast that it's almost unfathomable for the load forecasting groups, said Seiden.

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