Ott Calls for Proactive Planning to Adapt to Changing Industry

Challenges, accomplishments and people were the focus of PJM CEO Andy Ott’s remarks at the May 19 Members Committee meeting, which wrapped up the PJM Annual Meeting.

Ott recognized retiring board members Dr. Richard Lahey and Dr. Jean Kinsey as mentors in his first year as PJM CEO. He thanked the executive team and PJM’s employees and praised its members as an organizational bedrock.

“One of PJM’s strengths is the many diverse viewpoints of the members and their sectors. We are not dominated by any one section. We have the ability to listen to each other,” said Ott.

Ott pointed out that PJM’s basic focus areas never change – keeping lights on, facilitating efficient electricity trading and planning for future – and its ability to deliver services depends on member feedback.

He said he looks forward to addressing the challenges that the volume of change in the industry will bring. He sees  a number of opportunities for PJM in areas such as changing load profiles and fuels mix, the Clean Power Plan, gas-electric coordination and the penetration of renewables and energy efficiency into the markets.

Ott said that it isn’t enough for PJM to be excellent in its core areas. It is equally important, if not more so, to evolve in all areas – planning, markets, gas electric coordination – to enhance PJM’s value to its members.

He looked at distributed energy resources as an area of opportunity.

“We need to understand and anticipate and work with them to make the grid reliable,” he said. “There’s plenty [of DER] that we know about and plenty we don’t know about. It’s important for us to learn about what’s out there then adapt and leverage it for reliability.”

Fuel diversity is another area for PJM to continue to explore, Ott said, especially as far as what it means to PJM operationally.

“We’ll have a report next year at about this time on whether and how we should look at fuel diversity as an attribute and what that would mean to us,” he said. “As far as gas coordination, we’ve done well, but there is more to do. We need to look at how gas contingencies will work with our planning process.”

For Capacity Performance, Ott said two trends had emerged causing the need for a change – legacy assets were not meeting performance and new resources did not have fuel assurance.

“We need to avoid abrupt changes in future,” he said. “We need to be more proactive in anticipating and changing markets so we can adapt. We need to stabilize the rules and adapt in a more appropriate manner.”