PJM Discusses System Restoration at FEMA-Sponsored Maryland Power Symposium

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With winter just a few weeks off, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, held its Maryland Power Symposium to discuss emergency response efforts related to utility and power industry restoration.

The event also aimed at further developing relationships with key public and private partners, so that FEMA and other federal agencies can better understand the needs, capabilities and concerns necessary to support power restoration after a disaster.

The remote event, hosted by FEMA’s Region 3 Philadelphia office, featured focused sessions on power procurement and emergency restoration across the utility spectrum.

Chris Pilong, Director – Operations Planning at PJM, joined a session titled “What’s New in Power” to share information about restoration best practices underway in the power industry.

“At PJM, when we think about system restoration, we think about building back from the ground up,” Pilong said. “We need to ensure our critical resources – meaning generation resources – are restored first and can then supply power to rebuild a stable electric grid, which is used to supply essential electric and cross-sector systems.”

Pilong also discussed planning for emergency operations and restoration efforts based on scenario planning.

“We plan for scenarios that are based on actual events, like outages caused by high-speed wind events. In doing so, we are best prepared to respond to real incidents we could face,” he said.

Pilong concluded by discussing what’s ahead for PJM, including a future with increasing renewable resources interconnecting to the grid. He noted that PJM’s generation interconnection queue has quickly evolved from a recently heavy focus on natural gas generation projects to being dominated by renewable energy projects today. “Renewable resources are the future, but also require intense study and planning because of their intermittency,” Pilong said. “We’re working to ensure the effective integration of these resources into our normal and emergency operations, with our top priority of maintaining reliability.”