A Story of Storms
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — The Mid-Atlantic region experienced heavy precipitation this summer that was great for hydro generation, PJM staff told attendees at last week’s meeting of the Operating Committee.
“The story of this summer has been rain,” PJM’s Chris Pilong said.
He noted that several states within the RTO’s footprint recorded some of the wettest months of July and August since records began in 1895. While all the rain created localized flooding and high rivers, it didn’t result in any system issues. Generation outages on Aug. 28, when the RTO had its peak demand this year at 150,650 MW, were down compared to generation outages during last year’s peak on July 19. There were 13,590 MW on outage this year, while there were 16,538 MW on outage last year during a lower peak of 145,638 MW.
There were seven hot weather alerts between Aug. 27 and Sept. 6 that resulted in 100 planned transmission outages being deferred.
Staff also addressed the impacts of Hurricane Florence, which impacted 2,000 Dominion Energy customers in the North Carolina section of PJM’s zone. Staff held calls with several industry stakeholders and federal officials and declared conservative operations for the period.
Pilong also noted that the Oyster Creek nuclear facility in New Jersey went offline at noon on Sept. 17 and that there were no related system impacts.
Resilience Study Delayed
PJM’s Dave Souder announced that the special session of the Markets and Reliability Committee on fuel security scheduled for Sept. 22 had been moved to Nov. 1 to coincide with the revised publication date of the RTO’s study of the issue. (See related story, PJM CEO Ott Briefs Senate Committee on Black Start.)
The study had to be revised because of new deactivations that have been “communicated” to PJM, Souder said. The goal of the study is to identify locations with fuel delivery risks, evaluating how resources can reduce them and determine the need for additional mitigation efforts. (See Stakeholders Debate PJM Fuel Security Scope.)
PJM’s Jonathon Monken outlined the remainder of the RTO’s “resilience roadmap,” which includes short-, mid- and long-term goals. Short-term actions are expected to be completed by the end of the year and encompass mostly analysis and planning. Mid-term changes, which include incorporating “resilience criteria” in the RTO’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan, gas-electric coordination for its Dispatcher Interactive Map Application (DIMA) and gas-electric contingency pricing, are targeted to be implemented by the end of 2019. The long-term changes are intended for 2020 or beyond and include strategic islanding of critical infrastructure, enhancing tools for dynamic restoration and a “deep dive” vulnerability assessment with the Department of Homeland Security.
PJM’s Danielle Croop said an MRC proposal to revise pricing for regulation will fix what is “a little broken” in the regulation market but won’t impact operations. The proposed problem statement and issue charge, which would consider not allowing the benefits factor to decrease past 0.1, received a first read at the MRC’s September meeting.
“I really don’t think we’re going to see operational changes at all,” she said. “You’re talking about very small megawatts at that point.”
Croop noted the average clearing price for regulation in September was $20/MWh, which was $1 lower year-over-year and in line with the trend. She said manual moves of resources, in which PJM operators manually direct resources up or down for a maximum of two minutes, was “drastically down” thanks to the new regulation signal that was implemented in April 2017. Resources are set to automatically follow the signal, but many resources following the RegD signal often ended up moving the wrong direction. Operators performed approximately 16 manual moves in September for a total duration of roughly 1,600 seconds compared to approximately 40 moves in January for a total duration of roughly 4,600 seconds.
Croop said a spike in the number of RegD pegging incidents, in which a resource is held at the top or bottom of its regulation continuum based on system conditions for a certain amount of time, wasn’t “anything chronic” or an issue necessary to consider revising the signal. There were nine incidents of resources pegged for between 20 and 30 minutes, compared to August when there was only one such incident.
“I think it’s probably just a shoulder-month operation,” she said, referring to the weather vacillations in spring and fall months as the seasons change.
PJM’s Vince Stefanowicz discussed cold-weather preparations for generators, which include submitting a checklist preparations into the RTO’s eDART system by Dec. 15. A seasonal fuel and emissions survey must be completed by Nov. 16.
“We’re focused on fuel supply and delivery,” Stefanowicz said.
PJM will create a list by Nov. 10 of generators eligible to participate in a cold-weather exercise “to identify and correct start-up, operational and fuel switching issues prior to cold-weather operations,” and owners will have until Nov. 20 to identify participating units. Only non-Capacity Performance units are eligible for compensation.
PJM’s Rebecca Stadelmeyer reviewed a problem statement and issue charge proposed by the RTO to document timing and tasks required by generators in its Resource Tracker application. Staff believe the solution is “simple and straightforward” and have already proposed a solution, which would survey generation owners about windows and deadlines for inputting information in the application. PJM prefers one four-week window at the end of the year for revising information rather than the current two-week biannual windows.
The proposal would also install the final details in Manual 14D.
Mount Washington 115-kV RAS Done
Ken Braerman with Baltimore Electric and Gas announced the retirement of the Mount Washington remedial action scheme (RAS), which has been in service since June 1, 2014. The RAS addressed potential N-1-1 voltage drops at five buses in BGE’s territory by “reliev[ing] load to acceptable voltage levels,” but it will no longer be necessary once the Camp Small ring bus and capacitor bank goes into operation of Oct. 31.
— Rory D. Sweeney