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June's heatwave // Big Tech loves nuclear // Florida prepares for hurricanes

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: June’s heatwave and the grid // Big Tech nuclear play // Florida preps for hurricane season

How June’s Heatwave Impacted the Grid

In the past two weeks, the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and parts of the Midwest experienced an intense heatwave and, with it, record electricity demand.

As data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) points out, “the Eastern Interconnection—which covers much of the mainland United States east of the Rocky Mountains except Texas—peaked at 502,670 megawatts (MW) in a single hour on June 21, compared with the hourly June peak of 467,609 MW in 2023.”

PJM was one of the most impacted RTOs within the Eastern Interconnection and peaked at 147,976 MW on June 21. This is a 19% jump versus June 2023’s hourly peak demand.

ISO-NE, meanwhile, peaked at 23,266 MW on June 20. In its ISO-NE Summer Outlook, the EIA forecasted ISO-NE’s peak demand to be 24,553 MW.

Big Tech’s Nuclear Future

Shot while hiking with a few friends in the Belgian Ardennes.

Nearly one-third of the owners of America’s nuclear power plants are in talks with tech companies to provide baseload power to new data centers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

For nuclear advocates, this activity represents an about-face in the fortune of the domestic civilian nuclear industry; with increased private-sector support, nuclear power is increasingly being seen as essential to America’s energy future. Big Tech’s purchasing of nuclear power also means that data centers can tap into existing grid infrastructure, instead of waiting years for new generation to come online.

At the same time, ratepayers and utilities are becoming concerned that Big Tech is cutting the line and its nuclear power grab will take clean, reliable energy off the grid.

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