2021 in Review: A Year of Firsts, Innovation and Commitment


PJM and its stakeholders continued to adapt to the evolving energy industry landscape in 2021 by marking a number of first-ever events and reaffirming the commitment to innovation and diversity.

Marginal Emissions Data

In keeping with its commitment to becoming a center for innovation, in September PJM added Marginal Emission Rates to the public information available on its Data Miner tool.

The feed is published in real time, every five minutes, and reflects the marginal emission rates of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide for individual load nodes on the wholesale grid.

General Motors Co., in partnership with PJM member TimberRock, subsequently released plans to use the data to help the carmaker reach 100% renewable energy to power its operations by 2025 – five years earlier than previously announced.

Record Electricity Exports

The winter storms that impacted much of the country in mid-February brought extreme cold and major outages in neighboring regions, with devastating consequences. With slightly milder weather across PJM’s footprint, PJM was able to export unprecedented amounts of electricity to neighboring systems experiencing extreme weather.

PJM electricity exports set records on Feb. 15 (Presidents Day) and Feb. 16, with at least 10 hours of more than 13,000 MW exported and exceeding 15,700 MW at one point on Feb. 15. This was more than three times the megawatts PJM would export on an average day. The level reflects the importance of PJM’s links to neighboring electrical systems; during the Polar Vortex of 2014, for example, PJM imported significant amounts of power from some of the same neighbors.

Stakeholders Put New Process to Use

PJM’s work with stakeholders to reform its capacity market was accomplished in an accelerated time frame employing a structure that had never been used before.

The Critical Issue Fast Path (CIFP) process, employed to address concerns over the existing Minimum Offer Price Rule, achieved significant stakeholder consensus over a compressed meeting schedule that resulted in a successful filing with FERC.

The final vote marked an important step in the inaugural use of the CIFP process. The process provides the PJM Board and PJM members an orderly and facilitated path for contentious issues that face PJM and/or FERC implementation deadlines, and that either were not resolved, or would be extremely difficult to resolve, within the typical stakeholder process.

Facilitating NJ’s Offshore Wind Goals

FERC accepted PJM’s initial filing marking the first use of the State Agreement Approach between PJM and New Jersey to pursue that state’s goal of integrating 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035.

The State Agreement Approach enables PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan process to be responsive to requests from a state, or group of states, that PJM develop transmission that would assist in implementing state public policy requirements.

PJM received 80 proposals that address onshore and offshore needs that would facilitate New Jersey’s goal. The project proposals will be evaluated by PJM and the NJBPU, with the state retaining the right to elect whether to move forward with any projects.

New Virtual Power Plant

In Maryland, PJM is collaborating with Delmarva Power and Sunverge, a distributed energy resource aggregation platform provider, to explore how the new Elk Neck Battery Storage Pilot Program will participate in the region’s wholesale market for ancillary services, beginning in 2022.

The project will serve as a virtual power plant, aggregating residential, solar-powered battery storage to provide wholesale services.

Lessons learned will be critical, because Order 2222 will establish the rules for the grid of the future – how the smallest residential customers will interact with PJM, their local utility and the markets, and how they can be appropriately compensated for their contributions to serving load and to system reliability in general.

Committed to Diversity

As part of PJM’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, PJM hired its first Chief Diversity Officer, Michael Coyle.

As PJM’s chief DEI officer, Coyle will lead, develop, organize and direct all aspects of the function, with direct responsibility for ensuring responsiveness to PJM’s business objectives, core values and the organization’s DEI strategic plan.

He will also collaborate with the PJM community to drive training in cultural competency, listening and storytelling to increase awareness of and support for DEI.