PJM To Explore Permanent Emergency Operations Changes To Support Reliability

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The Markets & Reliability Committee on Wednesday unanimously endorsed extending a temporary change to Maximum Emergency procedures designed to address global fuel supply issues while stakeholders work to devise a permanent solution.

The amendments to emergency operations’ procedures in Manual 13, effective Oct. 21, 2021, were set to expire April 1.

The temporary rules now will lapse at the completion of specific work activities geared toward identifying market mechanisms that would make them unnecessary.

An additional clarification also has been made to replace the term “reliability” with specific reasons a resource may be removed from Maximum Emergency status – that is, if it is needed for “thermal control, voltage control, capacity, system restoration or testing.”

Members adopted the changes last fall to allow generators whose fuel supplies of coal or oil fell below a specified level to offer into the market be offered under Maximum Emergency status, meaning they make daily offers but are called upon to run only in emergency conditions.

The temporary Manual 13 changes state that PJM may request a generation owner to move steam units (generally coal fired) into the Maximum Emergency category if the resource’s remaining run time falls below 240 hours (10 days), meaning the units could be restricted from operating during that time unless required to meet reliability needs.

The previous run-hour threshold for Maximum Emergency was 32 hours. The units in question could remain in Maximum Emergency status until their fuel inventory rose above 21 days (504 hours). This would only be implemented to address concerns with local or regional reliability as a result of fuel supply shortages.

In January, stakeholders endorsed a second temporary change to Manual 13 giving greater flexibility to natural gas generators by increasing the minimum combined-cycle remaining run-hours from 16 to 24 to better align with gas pipeline industry practices. The temporary manual changes are in addition to PJM’s regular winter preparations and among the numerous additional measures PJM undertook last year arising out of lessons learned from the extreme weather and resulting blackouts in Texas in February 2021.