New Report Presents Road Map for Future Grid

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PJM has released a report outlining a vision for the grid of the future informed by examining how key industry trends and drivers could impact PJM and PJM’s transmission planning process.

Grid of the Future: PJM’s Regional Planning Perspective (PDF) envisions a transmission system driven by decarbonization, renewables, public policy, a diverse resource mix and new technologies.

The goal of the study is to ensure that PJM’s future grid maintains the reliability and operational flexibility necessary to address key drivers that are changing the face of the industry. It builds on the work of PJM’s renewable integration and offshore wind studies and is informed by reviews completed by other RTOs and other relevant industry entities.

The report was presented by Suzanne Glatz, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Interregional Planning, at PJM’s Planning Committee on May 10.

“The grid of the future is happening now, and this paper details the road map that will help us plan the transmission system to enable the shift to renewable generation resources that are smaller, more dispersed, and more variable in output than the existing fleet,” Glatz said. “The reliable electric grid of today will have to become increasingly flexible and responsive to customer demands, and our processes streamlined to integrate the many new resources that are coming online.”

PJM anticipates that over the next 15 years, it will integrate more than 100,000 MW of onshore wind, offshore wind, solar and storage in addition to 15,000 MW already in service.

In order to interconnect these resources, future grid enhancements alone are estimated to be more than $3 billion.

The increased penetration of wind and solar resources also presents unique challenges to planning. Meeting future transmission needs will involve enhancing operational flexibility while ensuring that reliability and resilience of the grid remain paramount.

In creating the report, PJM planners examined key industry trends driving future grid expansion, including generation development, evolving load characteristics, emerging transmission technologies and resilience.

The resulting road map for PJM’s evolving Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) encompasses four focus areas:

  • Transmission build-out scenario studies will be conducted in 2022. These will leverage PJM’s renewable integration and offshore wind studies as well as include additional analysis of the potential impacts of greater transportation and building electrification.
  • Targeted reliability studies will continue to explore generation and transmission reliability attributes such as reactive control, stability, system inertia and frequency control, and short-circuit impacts.
  • RTEP process improvements will continue, including key initiatives already underway: interconnection process reform, generator deliverability methodology enhancement, the development of Effective Load Carrying Capability methodology and the implementation of probabilistic planning techniques.
  • Regulatory policy impacts will inform new reliability criteria for such eventualities as extreme events, state electrification policies and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission action on regional transmission planning.

This initiative is part of a multiyear effort to implement PJM’s corporate strategy to enable transition in a changing industry.