With The Season’s First Snow, PJM Says “Bring It On”

December 12, 2017

A recap of the PJM 2017/18 Demand Response Summer season, and a preview of the Winter season just getting underway.

With the season’s first snow on the ground and the official start of Winter just days away, it’s a good time to look back at how the PJM Interconnection performed over the summer, and how it’s projected to perform in the months ahead. While we’re at it, let’s look a little further into the future, to the introduction of full-time Capacity Performance in DY 2020/21.

Early summer heat gave way to a milder late summer.

The 2017/18 PJM Summer DR season began with warmer than usual early summer temperatures and system loads. Although typically PJM’s five system peaks occur mid-July through August, this summer we saw two of the system peaks occur in early June and the others in July.  Which meant that DR customers needed to be on alert and ready for emergency events earlier in the summer then they are typically used to.  Peak shaving customers also had to be ready to predict early peak days and potentially may have missed them. This may mean higher Peak Load Contribution (PLC) values for the next power year. PJM’s Five Coincidental Peaks (5CP) for 2017 that are used to determine capacity costs through PLCs are shown in the table below.

DATE HOUR PJM LOAD (MW)
7/19/2017 18 145,331
7/20/2017 17 145,097
7/21/2017 17 142,003
6/12/2017 18 140,660
6/13/2017 17 138,365

The summer ended without PJM declaring any emergency events, which means Limited DR customers needed only to comply with an hourly test event to show program compliance.  Extended Summer DR customers still have May 2018 to be on call for any emergency events, and Annual DR and Capacity Performance (CP) DR customers have the balance of the 2017/18 power year to be on call for emergency events.

Colder and snowier winter than last year projected by PJM.

In a recent press release, PJM states that weather patterns indicate a strong likelihood of a continuation of the cool Summer and Fall temperatures into the Winter. This could bring parts of the PJM territory periods of cold polar blasts, and bring greater chances for winter precipitation than we had experienced the past few winters.

But no worries. PJM reminds all end users that although it anticipates a colder winter—and has forecasted peak loads just over 135,000 MW—it has ample resources to meet the needs of the system demand, with just under 185,000 MW of dispatchable generating capacity.

This is good news for Annual and CP DR customers anxious about potential Winter emergency events.  Although all DR customers should be prepared to respond if needed and feel confident in their ability to perform, they should take comfort in PJM’s ability to meet demand and avoid the system entering into an emergency situation.

PJM’s Capacity Performance product is the answer to grid reliability.

As you’re probably well aware, PJM ushered in the new Capacity Performance (CP) product at the start of the 2016/17 season and will transition to a full CP-only market starting with the 2020/21 season.  This CP product was PJM’s response to the early 2014 extreme winter weather known as the Polar Vortex.  That winter exposed threats to PJM’s ability to meet winter demand as many generation units were unavailable or unable to meet system needs.  The CP product now imposes greater requirements on all capacity resources to ensure availability and reliability.  It is because of the new CP product that PJM feels even more confident in being able to meet both Winter and Summer system needs going forward.

CPower discusses the Capacity Performance product, the new market, and dissects some myths about the product and what it means to the DR community in its White Paper as well as part of its ongoing webinar series.  We highly recommend checking both of them out to help answer any questions you may have on the CP program and your ability to participate in it.

To learn more about PJM’s changing market or about how to be better prepared for potential grid instability this summer, contact Dann or any member of the CPower’s PJM Team.

Published by

Dann Price

Dann Price has worked in the energy industry since 2008. As CPower’s Director of Market Development for the PJM market, Dann is responsible for keeping hundreds of demand response customers abreast of market conditions, energy prices, and regulatory issues.

Dann Price

Dann Price has worked in the energy industry since 2008. As CPower’s Director of Market Development for the PJM market, Dann is responsible for keeping hundreds of demand response customers abreast of market conditions, energy prices, and regulatory issues.