Stakeholders look at complex issues at special Planning, MRC meetings  


PJM and its members examined two issues – fuel security and the supplemental planning process – at meetings the week of Aug. 27.

The PJM Transmission Owners conducted the Aug. 28 planning meeting. PJM continued its ongoing education on the fuel security initiative on Aug. 29.

PJM Updates Fuel Security Initiative Components

PJM updated members on Phase I of its fuel security initiative at a special session of the Markets & Reliability Committee (MRC) Aug. 29. The initiative is part of PJM’s overall study of grid resilience (New initiative continues PJM quest for better fuel security – May 1 Inside Lines).

Dave Souder, senior director – Operations Planning, and Asanga Perera, manager – Advanced Analytics, provided an overview of changes made in Phase I assumptions since the special fuel security MRC meeting on July 31.

Souder acknowledged the complexities of the process as he reviewed updates for assumptions (Slide 3) and analysis, calling it “challenging.”

In Phase I, PJM is modeling for base case and extreme case, the impacts of disruptions, retirements and fuel replenishment capabilities. Among the input files PJM constructed and verified are load, thermal generation, topology, oil fuel constraints, transmission constraints and fuel prices. (See previous Inside Lines stories May 10 and July 2.)

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. PJM is looking at historic data to develop the disruption scenarios, incorporating into the models the types of events that have happened around the country as well as those in PJM.

Some stakeholders expressed concerns about methodology, especially on the amount of interruptible gas supply.

As part of its base case, PJM has performed sensitivities assuming that 62.5 percent of the natural gas supply would be available during an interruption. The model also assumes a two-week period of extreme cold. PJM said it used historical data for the determinations.

Souder told stakeholders that the window of opportunity is closing for those who either have questions on the assumptions or wish to make additional input. PJM is targeting the Sept. 27 Special MRC to present Phase 1 analysis results.

Perera told stakeholders that PJM arrived at its extreme-weather generator outage rates by developing a regression model. This model will exclude oil and gas fuel supply-related outages. The model is only applied to thermal generators; it is not applied to renewable resources.

The generator outage model will look at key variables such as: weather (wind-adjusted temperature and persistent cold weather), utilization (run hours and volatility) and a unit’s age.

Transmission Owners Outline Supplemental Planning Changes

The PJM Transmission Owners hosted an Aug. 28 education session to provide members an overview of changes to the supplemental planning process. The process changes stem from recent orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directing revised and additional steps in the review process.

PPL’s Chip Richardson, on behalf of the PJM Transmission Owners, led the meeting. He detailed the new process, which features the additional steps intended to encourage more member participation, as well as earlier identification of customer transmission needs and solutions that may better address their needs.

The transmission owners anticipate that the transition to the new process will begin in September.

Supplemental projects are transmission expansions or enhancements that are not required for compliance with PJM reliability, operational performance or economic efficiency criteria, and are not state public policy projects. These projects are initiated by transmission owners for a variety of purposes, including: serving local load customers, updating and replacing equipment, and addressing physical and cyber security and safety and environmental impacts. These supplemental projects are coordinated with PJM and represented in PJM’s RTEP models.

The first step – an annual review of models, assumptions and criteria – remains essentially the same.

The new process then replaces PJM’s current two-step review with three steps, per FERC instructions – need meetings, solution meetings and local plan submission – before the project is included in PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.

The additional steps with separate needs and solutions discussions will allow members to identify needs and solutions that may better accommodate them.

It also established minimum time frames between process steps. Members can provide comments before and after each process step, and the transmission owners will have time allotted to consider the comments and make revisions to the project plan. PJM will post the comments after each stage, and transmission owners will post any changes made as a result of the comments.

Richardson acknowledged the complexity of the new process but said it gives all members the opportunity to participate with the transmission owners in their planning process.

The transmission owners plan to have meetings to gather stakeholder input in assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the new protocols, tentatively set for the first and third quarters of 2019.