DOE convenes workshops to gather information for 2012 congestion study

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold four regional workshops starting Dec. 6 to obtain comments about its planned 2012 National Electric Transmission Congestion Study.

DOE wants to determine what publicly available data and information should be considered and what types of analysis should be performed to identify and understand the significance and character of transmission congestion across various parts of the nation’s electrical grid.

David Meyer, senior adviser in the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, told TransmissionHub, “We want to explain how we intend to conduct the study, then get their advice or their inputs about particular kinds of data or studies that are underway or recently concluded pertaining to congestion in their particular part of the country.”

Meyer expects the workshops to be attended primarily by experts from utilities in each region as well as state utility regulators, though the workshops are open to the general public.

Two workshops will be held in the eastern U.S. and Midwest, and two will be held on the west coast because different kinds of information are available in different parts of the country. “We’ve learned not to be dependent on any one particular source or kind of information if we can avoid it,” Meyer said.

For example, in areas with organized electricity markets, “you can look at LMP (localtional marginal) prices, then you can look to see whether there have been TLRs (transmission-loading relief) or other reliability-related events of one kind or another that seem to match up with some of the trends or conditions you can identify from the LMP data,” Meyer said.

“We have a variety of puzzle pieces to work with, and we’ll study those materials to see whether some kind of story line emerges that helps us understand the situation in that particular region,” Meyer said.

The first workshop will be held Dec. 6 in Philadelphia and the second Dec. 8 in St. Louis. The third and fourth will be held Dec. 13 and 15 in Portland, Ore. and San Diego, Calif., respectively.

In addition to the workshops, DOE will also be accepting written comments.

Transcripts of the meetings and associated materials will be available on the DOE’s web site following the meetings.