OC Eyes Better Fuel Assurance for Black Start Units

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A special session of the Operating Committee on Tuesday began studying the potential for additional fuel assurance requirements for black start resources to ensure they can operate in the event their primary fuel source is unavailable.

Black start units are resources designated to be able to restore electricity to the grid without using an outside electrical supply if power is lost throughout the entire PJM system.

Currently, PJM requires that black start units maintain sufficient fuel to allow for at least 16 hours of run time. PJM also has revised its business rules to increase the weighting of fuel assurance in the black start request-for-proposal (RFP) evaluation process.

Initial analysis indicates that about half of PJM’s black start resources have demonstrated the ability to operate even during periods when their primary fuel source is unavailable, through dual-fuel capability, on-site fuel storage or multiple gas pipeline connections.

With increased industry focus on grid resilience, PJM has tasked stakeholders with considering whether existing requirements are sufficient to ensure fuel supplies for black start resources of all types.

A problem statement and issue charge assigned the subjects of black start fuel and testing requirements to the Operating Committee and compensation issues to the Market Implementation Committee. The work has been deemed high priority and is expected to take about six months.

On Tuesday, the group began with education about fuel requirements for black start resources, as well as a presentation from the independent market monitor on the minimum tank suction level for such resources with on-site fuel storage.

The next monthly meeting is scheduled for Feb. 5.