Members OK Proposal to Enhance Transparency in Transmission Planning

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Eight months of deliberations between stakeholders and PJM regarding how to balance the treatment of regional and “supplemental” transmission projects in the planning process ended Aug. 22 with an overwhelming affirmative vote that drew applause from the Markets & Reliability Committee.

The Committee endorsed language changes to Manual 14B: PJM Region Transmission Planning Process aimed at improving the transparency associated with the incorporation of supplemental projects into the Regional Transmission Planning Process. The proposal, brought forward by transmission developer LS Power and supported by PJM, was endorsed by a sector-weighted vote of 4.55 out of 5.

PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) identifies transmission system upgrades and enhancements to address reliability, economic and operational needs. Supplemental projects are identified by transmission owners and are not required for compliance with PJM criteria. Many of the supplemental projects are identified to address aging assets, operational flexibility and infrastructure resilience.

Integrating Transmission Planning Processes

PJM’s Aaron Berner, manager – Transmission Planning, speaks to the Markets & Reliability Committee.

As the number of supplemental projects has increased in recent years, so, too, has the call by some stakeholders for increased transparency to this aspect of the planning process. The new manual language aims to integrate the transmission owners’ planning process with PJM’s RTEP process.

“PJM has sought to ensure that the manual faithfully documents its existing planning processes, integrates new processes or procedures consistent with recent regulatory orders/compliance directives, and provides a platform for the future that incorporates stakeholder desires, duties and future direction,” PJM’s Aaron Berner, manager – Transmission Planning, said in a presentation to the MRC Aug. 22.

Coordinated, Open and Transparent

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 1000 calls for a competitive proposal process to address regional reliability violations identified by PJM. The new M-3 process was implemented to comply with FERC Order 890, which requires regional transmission organizations to provide coordinated, open and transparent planning processes on both a local and regional level.

“What this manual language is basically saying is that when these Order 1000 windows open, that PJM can consider projects that address regional needs and regional drivers, but also projects that consider [supplemental] drivers,” said Sharon Segner, vice president at LS Power.

“This proposal represents a compromise by all parties that improves transparency for projects that are regional in nature while also maintaining transmission owners’ ability to plan and direct necessary maintenance and upgrades to their systems,” Ken Seiler, PJM’s vice president for Planning, said after the meeting.