The 2016 PJM summer compliance season which runs from June through September has come to an end without a PJM-initiated emergency demand response (DR) event. The first six months of the year were already one of the warmest on record. So, for many of us sweating it out across the northeast, it was no surprise that this summer produced several heat waves that pushed system peaks to their highest levels in recent years. PJM’s top 5 system peaks (see table), reflect the summer’s weather and should be the Five Coincidental Peaks (5CP) that drive customers’ capacity charges through their Peak Load Contribution (PLC). It is important to note that any load reductions during these hours may reduce your capacity charges for next summer.
When it came to actual demand response events, however, a different picture unfolded compared to prior years. For instance, the 2013 summer saw system peaks at similar levels and was one of the most active summers for demand response customers ever. So you may ask: Why were no Emergency DR events called this summer, despite the heat and high system peaks? A few reasons come to mind:
- Some of it may be attributed to PJM’s new reliability product, Capacity Performance (CP), which debuted this delivery year and imposes greater availability requirements on generation;
- Some of it may be attributed to increased transmission efficiency;
- Also, flat or declining system peaks are starting to reflect the impact of energy efficiency regulations (the last system peak demand record was set in 2007); and finally
- Pure Luck? After all, the timing of several heat waves passing through the PJM territory coincided during weekends.
Whatever the primary reason(s), PJM Emergency DR customers should take pride in their commitment to be on standby to reduce load when called upon. Your ability to curtail electricity consumption when needed by the grid is a tremendous asset to maintaining system reliability and preventing potential blackouts/brownouts.
This doesn’t mean that PJM may not have a reliability issue beyond the summer as the program year does run through May 2017. Also, while the summer period yields the greatest risk of an emergency event, demand response customers that have committed to curtailments all year should continue to be prepared to perform and reduce load if/when needed to support grid reliability.
Moreover, with the transition to the new CP product, demand response is morphing into a year-round program. Customers can start participating in CP now to get themselves prepared for the coming changes and earn additional capacity revenue in the process. Many forward-thinking facility managers are already thinking about how they may be able to participate beyond the summer and are reviewing effective winter curtailment strategies.
CPower would like to take this time to thank all demand response customers for their commitment to PJM reliability this summer. CPower customers can always review their load drop test and event performance in the CPower App and should be expecting summer performance reports and payments starting early November.
Last but not least, we always encourage all participants to stay tuned for earnings opportunities in other DR programs available. Many participants augment their demand response earnings from the capacity program via active participation in PJM’s voluntary programs such as (price based) economic demand response and (faster response) ancillary services such as synchronized reserves.
Please feel free to contact Dann or the CPower team if you have any questions. Our engineering team is happy to help you understand the nuances of participating in these programs and assist in optimizing your overall energy savings and earnings year round.