PJM, stakeholders discuss fuel security at special MRC


At a special Markets & Reliability Committee meeting May 8, Mike Bryson, vice president – Operations, led stakeholders through a discussion of PJM’s initiative to analyze fuel security for electricity generation.

Bryson said fuel security is one aspect of the many facets of grid resilience.

With the recent publication of Valuing Fuel Security and the subsequent three-phase fuel security study, PJM continues its focus on the resilience of the grid. In the March 2017 report, PJM concluded that the system is reliable but that heavy reliance on any one type of resource raises important questions. PJM has also released a resilience road map and on March 9, 2018, filed its perspective on resilience with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In this new analysis, PJM will use data to focus on fuel security delivery vulnerabilities and the development of criteria.

PJM proposes to simulate the extended cold weather conditions of the 2017–18 cold snap and the 2014 Polar Vortex loads and wind chill levels across the RTO region and for the sub-regions.

Phase I is intended to identify potential system vulnerabilities and to determine attributes that could include requirements for amounts of on-site fuel and dual-fuel capability, among others, to ensure that peak demands can be met during realistic but extreme contingency scenarios in various supply portfolios.

PJM will simulate disruptions to fuel delivery systems that could be the result of credible extreme events such as coordinated physical attacks, cyberattacks or extreme weather. Bryson added that PJM would look at historic data to develop the disruption scenarios, incorporating the type of events that have happened around the country as well as those in PJM into the models.

In the second phase, PJM wants to work through the stakeholder process to incorporate vulnerabilities, on a locational basis, as limits in PJM’s capacity market (similarly to the way PJM models transmission constraints today).

Bryson said this would allow PJM to examine locational limitations and continue to allow for competition among resources that today or in the future can provide those attributes to ensure a resilient grid.

For ongoing coordination, the third phase, PJM will incorporate any specific security concerns identified by federal and state agencies such as physical and cybersecurity requirements for critical infrastructure.

“We want to look at where the fleet is, at specific resources and how they can become fuel secure. We want to give the give resources time to learn the requirements, see where the trajectory goes and understand how to meet future requirements.”

Bryson said another challenge is how to allow for future innovation. New technology and approaches, such as storage solutions, should be incented to provide solutions.

“We’ve been using the term fuel neutral. Maybe – not knowing what future will hold – we should be using the term technology neutral, as well.”

Bryson pointed out that there have been technological innovations in the 20 years since PJM developed its markets. As the fuel mix evolved, the market adapted.

PJM welcomes stakeholder feedback regarding the scope of the analysis. Written stakeholder comments are due by the end of May. PJM plans to update stakeholders through the MRC – either in special sessions or during the regular monthly meetings.

Analysis Scenarios

PJM proposes to create several capacity portfolio scenarios for the study. They could include:


Base Portfolio: This scenario includes the 2020–21 PJM resource portfolio with scheduled retirements. PJM may model additional retirements in order to drop to the required Installed Reserve Margin (IRM) of the 2017 PJM Reserve Requirement Study of 16.6 percent.


Stressed Portfolio: This scenario includes the base portfolio scenario along with additional coal and nuclear retirements.


High-Stressed Portfolio: This scenario includes the base scenario, along with an assumption that an increased percentage of coal and nuclear units are retired and replaced with natural gas within the same zone as those retired resources.