Bresler, Other RTO Leaders Testify Before House Subcommittee on Grid Reliability

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PJM’s Stu Bresler, Sr. Vice President – Market Services, testified Sept. 28 before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy, Climate & Grid Security to provide PJM’s perspective on preserving the electric grid through the ongoing energy transition.

“As with the entire U.S. electric grid, PJM is experiencing an accelerating transition toward intermittent renewable generation,” Bresler stated in his submitted testimony (PDF). “Policies, economics and consumer choices are shifting the grid away from dispatchable, emitting generation resources toward intermittent generation with little-to-no carbon emissions.”

As PJM looks further out into the future, it will be crucial to maintain an adequate level of generation resources, with operational and physical characteristics that support reliability, in order to reliably serve electrical demand through the energy transition, Bresler noted.

As part of his testimony, Bresler also described the trends underway that could causes challenges for PJM as it moves into the future, including:

  • The rate of electricity demand increasing due to the electrification of the transportation and heating sectors, coupled with a significant near-term increase in the development of large data centers within the PJM footprint, each of which consumes significant amounts of electricity
  • The retirement of dispatchable generation at a rapid, date-certain pace, largely due to state and federal policies
  • Replacement generation being made up of primarily intermittent and limited-duration resources, such as wind, solar and battery storage (These resources require multiple megawatts to replace one megawatt of dispatchable generation due to their limited availability in certain hours of the day and seasons of the year.)
  • The retirements of fossil-based resources clearly outpacing the construction of new renewable resources

Bresler closed his comments by urging policymakers to adopt a practice of building reliability considerations into the analysis of future potential policies to ensure alignment and help to enhance reliability into the future, while still meeting other policy goals.

In addition to Bresler, leaders from all seven grid operators in the United States testified to how they are preserving reliability through the energy transition and the potential challenges they face. Those testifying in addition to Bresler were:

  • Gordon van Welie, President & Chief Executive Officer, ISO New England
  • Paul Suskie, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy & General Counsel, Southwest Power Pool
  • Richard J. Dewey, President & Chief Executive Officer, New York ISO
  • Todd Ramey, Sr. Vice President, Markets and Digital Strategy, Midcontinent ISO
  • Woody Rickerson, Sr. Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, ERCOT
  • Neil Millar, Vice President for Infrastructure and Operations Planning, California ISO