New Stakeholder Group Explores the Grid of the Future

Stakeholders and Energy Industry Collaborate in New Emerging Technologies Forum

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The newest PJM forum convened on Aug. 27 to explore ongoing research into the viability of new and evolving grid technologies.

At the heart of the Emerging Technologies Forum is PJM’s Advanced Technology Pilot Program, which explores and vets emerging technologies that can enhance system reliability, operational and market efficiency, and resilience.

In addition to offering a transparent window into the workings of the pilot program, the upcoming forum meetings invite feedback and collaboration on emerging technology education and considerations for implementation.

“We are in a new phase of the pilot program,” said Scott Baker, Senior Business Solution Analyst – Applied Innovation. “This forum increases coordination with members, with opportunities for input and more open discussion, not just for new technology but also ideas for pilot projects.”

Work currently underway includes a project with Microsoft to explore the load flexibility of data centers equipped with battery-based storage systems. Data centers, a growing segment of electrical load in PJM’s footprint, have potential to act as flexible load – able to both absorb electricity and distribute power back to the grid. To explore this capability, PJM is testing new technology with Microsoft against PJM’s real-time regulation signal, he said.

In other work, PJM and the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) are collaborating to test new software and controls that manage distributed energy resources across cooperative distribution systems in North Carolina.

Past Pilot Projects

Among successful initiatives already undertaken via the Advanced Technology Pilot Program are PJM’s Dispatch Interactive Map Application, or DIMA – which was developed to enhance situational awareness for PJM operators – as well as the exploration of dynamic line rating technologies, synchrophasors, microgrids and electric vehicle-to-grid systems.

Moving Dynamic Line Ratings Forward

At the Aug. 27 meeting, forum participants engaged in a review of PJM’s studies of dynamic line rating technologies and their potential to enhance real-time transmission ratings and relieve congestion, in addition to issues surrounding integration with energy markets.

Dynamic line rating technologies have the potential to increase the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid by allowing operators to better understand how the capacity of transmission lines increases or decreases with changing weather conditions.

In its October meeting, the Emerging Technologies Forum is seeking to hear industry presentations on dynamic line ratings and considerations for operations, planning and markets. To come later this year is an examination of the treatment of dynamic line rating technologies in PJM’s manuals and documents, with recommendations and takeaways from forum participants to be relayed for possible action in PJM’s stakeholder process.

Upcoming Meetings

At the forum, stakeholders will be able to help identify benefits and obstacles for the implementation of emerging technologies on the PJM system. The forum will also include a number of technical education sessions.

In addition to the Aug. 27 meeting, three more meetings are planned for this year. The forum is open to all members, entities proposing emerging technologies to be integrated into the PJM region, agencies and offices of consumer advocates of the states in the PJM Region, and any other interested entities or persons.