PJM’s Mike Bryson Discusses Winter Readiness at FERC Conference

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Mike Bryson, Senior Vice President – Operations, presented PJM’s perspective on preparing for reliable winter power dispatch Thursday at a technical conference, “Implementing Cold Weather Preparedness Plans for Reliable Operations,” called by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Bryson’s comments (PDF) described how PJM coordinates with member companies and gas pipeline operators. He also outlined PJM’s processes and procedures to prepare for winter weather and assess generator readiness to perform in cold conditions.

PJM’s key annual procedures, Bryson said, include:

  • PJM Winter Operations Assessment Task Force Study
  • Generation Resource Cold Weather Preparation Guideline and Checklist
  • Cold Weather Resource Operational Exercise
  • Pre-Winter Emergency Procedures Drill
  • PJM Winter Readiness Meeting
  • Gas-Electric Coordination

Managing Generation Maintenance and Outages

Bryson also described PJM considerations to maintain reliability for planned or forced generation outages. PJM evaluates generator outages for their effect on reliability and may approve, deny or suggest alternate dates for a requested outage based on specific reserve margin limits and other related factors. In addition, daily operations studies consider the unexpected daily needs of the power grid, which may lead to the rescheduling or cancellation of previously scheduled outages.

Preparing for Fuel Supply and Inventory Challenges

PJM conducts a number of critical activities ahead of each winter, Bryson’s comments noted, to assess existing and planned fuel inventories for storable fuels as well as to assess supply and transportation risks for all fuel types.

Enhancing Situational Awareness

PJM undertakes an annual pre-winter generation owner fuel and emission data request, which is focused on fuel supply and delivery details as well as emission limitations, and is designed to enhance PJM’s situational awareness in preparation for severe weather.

In response to a 2018 cold weather event in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) footprint, in 2019, PJM began issuing an annual cold weather operating-limit data request to all generation resources.

In addition, starting with the 2021/2022 winter season, PJM initiated a weekly fuel and non-fuel consumable 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 supply, supply chain or transportation issues that could impact generators.

Changes to Maximum Emergency Generation Reporting

As fuel supply chain and transportation challenges increased ahead of the 2021/2022 winter season, PJM initiated a change to its Maximum Emergency Generation Category Reporting process. As a result, PJM may direct generation owners to move fuel or emission-limited steam units into this category if their remaining run hours are limited. This change, including expanded guidelines for combustion turbines, helps ensure generation resources are available if required to meet demand.

Gas-Electric Coordination

As a large part of PJM’s generation fleet, natural gas is of utmost importance to winter reliability in the PJM service area, Bryson said.

PJM has developed a strong relationship with the natural gas industry in order to address the interdependency between the electric and gas industries. As part of this relationship, PJM, together with other ISO/RTO Council members, participates in an annual pre-winter meeting with the interstate pipeline organizations as well as the natural gas supply industry. PJM also conducts weekly winter calls with each interstate pipeline control center that serves generators in the PJM footprint, as well as performs a daily generation risk assessment. Additionally, PJM has created a number of gas contingencies within its Emergency Management System, which are initiated whenever an event occurs that presents a risk to fuel delivery.