Ott Stresses Common Goals at OPSI

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The wholesale electricity markets and the 13 states served by PJM Interconnection have a common goal in facing the challenges presented by a quickly evolving industry, PJM President and CEO Andy Ott said Tuesday.

“The states and PJM, we share the same objective, which is reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost,” Ott told attendees during his address at the annual meeting of the Organization of PJM States, Inc. (OPSI), in Chicago.

Ott and OPSI leaders said communications between PJM and states has improved and must continue to get better in order to confront an array of complex and important issues.

The PJM grid serving 65 million people is reliable today, Ott noted, but said PJM is constantly looking to the challenges of the future, which include

fairly valuing all resources for the important attributes they bring. The attributes that go beyond reliability at the lowest cost are:

  • Providing opportunities for innovation and competition to reduce costs;
  • Integrating distributed energy resources into the grid so their value can be fully recognized;
  • Efficiently measuring the interface between distribution and transmission;
  • Maintaining a grid that is more resilient to prolonged, disruptive events.

Ott stressed that the PJM markets and competition can help states achieve their public policy objectives, as long as the markets evolve with the industry. PJM’s recent filing with FERC on reform in the capacity market to accommodate state policies represents a workable path forward, he said, also indicating that the energy and reserve markets would be targeted for reform to be worked on with stakeholders, including OPSI.

PJM’s efforts to establish a more resilient grid will continue Thursday, when PJM announces the results of its study on fuel security. Resilience for PJM is the ability to handle events that threaten extended disruption to the grid operations, Ott said, and security of the fuel supply to generators is a critical component of that.

“The system as we sit today does not have a problem with fuel security,” Ott said, but the results of the study focus on fuel security in the future as the generation fleet continues to move toward natural gas and renewable resources. “It will answer the questions,” he said.