2022 in Review: Preparedness and Action Ensure Reliable, Resilient Grid Operations

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PJM and its members and stakeholders took numerous steps in 2022 to ensure reliability, security and resilience of the bulk electric system while adding ways to better prepare for extreme circumstances and global supply chain shortages.

Winter Operations

The PJM grid performed reliably during a winter marked by relatively mild to average cold weather and fuel supply management. Overall, winter temperatures were average between Dec. 1, 2021, and Feb. 28, 2022. Generation technology reflected the evolving resource mix, with renewable resources making up 7% of the generation, compared to coal (23%), nuclear (33%) and natural gas (36%).

In preparation for the 2022–2023 winter, heeding lessons learned from Winter Storm Uri in 2021 and extreme weather in other areas of the country, PJM in 2022 is requiring generators to provide verification of their facilities’ cold-weather minimum operating temperature limit.

Winter 2021–2022 Notes

  • December 2021 was recorded as one of the three warmest Decembers on record in nearly every state in the PJM footprint.
  • In contrast, January 2022 began with below-average temperatures, when all seven of that season’s Cold Weather Alerts were issued.
  • PJM’s winter peak load of approximately 129,000 MW took place on Jan. 27.
  • Gas pipeline operations remained strong with no significant disruptions or operational impacts.
  • Overall, there were no major concerns with coal and oil inventories.

New Cold Weather Advisory Enhances Situational Awareness

PJM enhanced its emergency operations procedures for winter with a new Cold Weather Advisory emergency operations procedure.

Beginning in October 2022, PJM may issue a Cold Weather Advisory two to five days prior to the unusual weather. This procedure enhances PJM’s long-established practice of a Cold Weather Alert one day ahead. During a Cold Weather Advisory, PJM and members prepare for possible conditions. This includes:

  • Implementing physical protection against the cold, including wind breaks or shelters around equipment, temporary heaters and other actions
  • Notifying PJM of any changes caused by cold weather to availability of generation, fuel inventories, fuel switching capability or other constraints

Supply Chain Resilience

Stakeholders also approved permanent changes to PJM Emergency Operations Procedures in 2022 to help generators respond to supply chain issues impacting both fuel and other materials needed to operate their units.

These changes institutionalized the 2021 temporary measures to enhance critical reliability tools in the event of potential fuel supply shortages or extreme weather. Stakeholders approved the permanent changes to PJM’s procedures as volatile commodity markets affecting coal and natural gas supplies worldwide continued.

Regular communication about generation resources and data management allows PJM more flexibility in managing generation to address possible local or regional reliability concerns resulting from fuel supply shortages.

Summer Operations

In 2022, PJM met hot-weather demand with a peak of approximately 148,000 MW on July 20. In all, temperatures remained near to, or just above, normal ranges. In the Marion subzone of the AEP transmission zone on June 14 to June 16, PJM initiated emergency procedures in the wake of severe weather and downed lines to protect the bulk electric system.

Fuel Requirements for Black Start Resources

PJM and stakeholders agreed on meaningful improvements to ensure reliability and resilience of PJM’s black start generation resource fleet in 2022 that had been the subject of discussion and debate since 2019. The proposal for fuel-assurance requirements for black start resources is to be filed for approval with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January 2023. Measures include:

  • One fuel-assured black start resource in each transmission zone
  • Additional black start resources based on reliability criteria
  • 16-hour run requirement
  • Testing and verification requirements
  • Compensation formula rate for black start resources
  • Implementation through PJM-wide request for proposal process

Dynamic Line Ratings

Beginning in the fall of 2022, a PPL Electric Utilities project began streaming dynamic line rating data from three transmission lines in northeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, the forecast and real-time thermal rating updates were integrated by PJM for its reliability and markets processes for the three 230 kV circuits.

PPL installed technology on the three historically congested lines to communicate the impact to capacity caused by weather, line sag and wind in real time.

As directed by FERC in 2021, PJM and its stakeholders established systems and procedures to accommodate dynamic line rating technology use by transmission owners. This work continues in the PJM Dynamic Line Rating Task Force, initiated last September.

Return to In-Person Activities

The stakeholder process also returned to normal operating conditions. As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions relaxed, PJM announced the return of in-person, on-campus meetings beginning in April 2022, with virtual attendance options remaining available for all stakeholder meetings. This included an in-person Annual Meeting of Members, which took place in two parts. The first part took place in May at PJM’s Valley Forge campus, with the second part being held in Cambridge, Maryland, in October.