Members Reject Primary Frequency Response Packages


Stakeholders rejected three proposals that looked at how best to incorporate primary frequency response into existing resources on the PJM system, PJM announced at the Primary Frequency Response Senior Task Force meeting Wednesday.

The task force had been discussing the implementation of a Primary Frequency Response capability requirement on existing resources in PJM, similar to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 842, Essential Reliability Services and the Evolving Bulk-Power System – Primary Frequency Response. The order requires all new generation to provide primary frequency response as a condition of the Interconnection Service Agreement.

Primary frequency response is essential to ensure system reliability and stability both in real-time operations and during system restoration events. Generators providing primary frequency response automatically respond to large changes in system frequency. For example, if the frequency goes too high, the generator will automatically reduce output; if the frequency goes too low, the generator will automatically increase output. As the first line of defense in frequency disturbance events, primary frequency response is also critical for controlling frequency in system restoration events. 


Voting closed on Nov. 3 and none of the solution packages received the 50 percent threshold required to move the packages up to the Markets and Reliability Committee. The PJM package received 25 percent of the vote; the Monitoring Analytics package, 21 percent and the Calpine proposal, 34 percent.

In the non-binding poll asking if members preferred making a change over retaining the status quo, 73 percent preferred the status quo, with the assumption that the status quo incorporated the requirements of FERC Order No. 842.

At the center of the discussion is an observation by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation that some units either aren’t providing PFR or not providing it for a satisfactory length of time. The consensus from stakeholders at the meeting was that the situation does not seem to warrant any changes to primary frequency response requirement in PJM. Stakeholders suggested looking at how the FERC order plays out as new units join the interconnection before taking any further action.

One of the transmission owner representatives pointed out that, while the task force has been concentrating on PJM, there are PFR discussions ongoing throughout the Eastern Interconnection. In addition, some grid operators, such as ERCOT, have suggested a market solution to primary frequency concerns.

If after monitoring ongoing frequency response in PJM and the Eastern Interconnection, the situation continues to degrade to pose a reliability risk, the task force could restart.

Glen Boyle, manager – Operation Analysis & Compliance and task force chair, said that PJM staff has not had the chance to hold internal discussions on the results yet. He will present the results of the vote at the Dec. 20 Markets & Reliability Committee meeting for further guidance and stakeholder feedback.