PJM and Members Prepare To Serve Winter Electricity Demand


PJM Interconnection and its members are prepared to meet the forecasted demand for electricity this winter, employing lessons learned from recent extreme weather events while also accounting for recent fuel supply concerns.

PJM, which operates the grid in 13 states and the District of Columbia, expects to have over 185,000[1] MW of resources to meet the forecasted peak demand of approximately 133,000 MW. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,295 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.

“Keeping the power flowing under anticipated winter conditions is the core mission for PJM and our member companies,” said President and CEO Manu Asthana. “We understand the critical importance that electricity plays in the daily lives of the 65 million people we serve.”

Each year, PJM performs winter readiness assessments and exercises in advance of the cold weather months. These assessments include data collection on: fuel inventory, supply and delivery characteristics; emissions limitations; and minimum operating temperatures. PJM meets with federal and state regulators and neighboring systems to go over winter preparations. PJM also conducts weekly operational review meetings with major natural gas pipeline operators serving generators in the PJM footprint to coordinate operations with the pipelines that supply a large portion of the gas generation fleet.

This year, in light of the severe cold weather issues experienced in Texas during February 2021, PJM initiated an analysis that resulted in numerous additional improvements to its winter preparedness efforts. Those improvements include:

  • Incorporating critical-load business rules and expectations into emergency operations procedures to assist transmission owners in identifying and prioritizing electric service for critical facilities in emergencies
  • Collecting more information from suppliers about any fuel, environmental or weather-related limitations that could impact winter operations, while also including wind and solar generators in these requests
  • Further enhancing information-sharing with the natural gas industry

Given recent reports regarding coal and fuel-oil supply chains, PJM will continue to issue data requests for fuel inventories on a weekly basis to provide a clearer picture of fuel availability this winter. Further, in October PJM initiated temporary changes to its Emergency Operations rules to give PJM and generators more flexibility in building and maintaining coal and oil supplies given current global shortages in those fuel inventories headed into winter.

“We have been in close contact with electricity generators in the PJM footprint to better understand their fuel supply situations, and that will continue through the winter,” said Mike Bryson, Senior Vice President − Operations. “These enhanced, coordinated efforts have been incredibly helpful as we work with our stakeholders to ensure reliability every day and a resilient system even in the most extreme weather conditions.” PJM analyzes the expected demand for electricity, weather predictions and other factors to develop its forecast for winter operations. PJM’s ongoing preparation checklist for generation and transmission owners includes everything from increasing staffing for weather emergencies to required maintenance activities to prepare equipment for winter conditions.

[1] 169,682 MW of these generation resources are committed capacity resources.