PJM Interconnection and its members are prepared to meet the forecast demand for electricity this winter. At the same time, PJM is monitoring efforts to avert a rail strike. Fuel supply data collected from generation owners by PJM indicates that a rail strike would not impact reliability in the very near term, but a prolonged strike would present challenges to supplies of both fuels and other materials needed to operate generators, and could create reliability issues. PJM will continue to follow the situation closely and will communicate to members any additional actions PJM is taking or expects members to take in response, if necessary.
PJM, which operates the bulk electric grid in 13 states and the District of Columbia, expects to have over 186,000 MW of resources to meet the forecast peak demand of approximately 137,000 MW. PJM’s all-time winter peak was 143,295 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.
“Planning to keep the power flowing during the cold weather months, and all year long, is important to the 65 million people we serve,” said President and CEO Manu Asthana. “We are constantly working with our members to learn from extreme weather events across the country, and together we have further strengthened our preparations and processes for this winter.”
Each year, PJM performs winter readiness assessments 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 review 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.
PJM analyzes the expected demand for electricity, weather predictions and other factors to develop its forecast for winter operations. PJM’s ongoing Cold Weather Preparation Guideline and Checklist for generation owners includes everything from increasing staffing for weather emergencies to performing required maintenance activities to prepare equipment for winter conditions.
In response to fuel-supply concerns going back to fall 2021, and lessons learned from recent extreme weather events nationally, PJM has added new rules and requirements to its cold weather guidelines for operators. This year, for example, PJM for the first time is requiring that generators provide verification of their facilities’ cold weather operating temperature limit.
In addition, stakeholders in November approved permanent rule changes to PJM’s emergency procedures to account for generator constraints resulting from supply chain issues, fuel shortages or regulatory restraints, including emissions limitations.
Last 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 included approving rules to assist transmission owners in identifying and prioritizing service to critical facilities in emergencies and further improving information sharing with the natural gas industry.
In 2021, PJM initiated a weekly fuel and non-fuel consumables data request for all generators that utilize coal or oil as their primary or backup fuel. Capturing this data more frequently allows PJM to better understand any fuel supply, supply chain or transportation issues that could impact generators, and the practice was extended through all of 2022 and into this winter.
“We now have better visibility into generators’ supply of fuels and other material critical to their operation, and we expect that recent rule changes will enhance the flexibility those generators need to rebuild their supplies when facing shortfalls beyond their control,” said Mike Bryson, Sr. Vice President − Operations. “This coordination is helpful as we work together to ensure that, even in the most extreme weather or other challenging circumstances, the grid remains reliable.”