PJM proposes expanding parameters of its planning process

PJM Interconnection (PJM) has filed with FERC a plan that would enable it to expand the analyses used in its regional transmission expansion plan (RTEP) process to include tests that evaluate more information than currently used for reliability analysis (Docket No. ER12-1178-000).

The proposed changes to the PJM operating agreement filed Feb. 29 would include scenario planning provisions for demand response programs or other environmental initiatives, consider “at-risk” generation factors, and increase stakeholder participation in the RTEP process.

Proposed changes would also allow PJM to expand the contents of the RTEP to include consideration of public policy requirements, identify transmission needs driven by public policy, and evaluate potential solutions to meet those needs, PJM said in its filing.

Further, PJM proposes considering public policy initiatives beyond enacted statutes or promulgated regulations in its sensitivity studies, modeling assumption variations and scenario planning analyses that may have potential impacts on long term planning.

PJM also proposed changes that would better describe the elements that make up the RTEP, including reliability, market efficiency and operational performance.

In its filing, PJM said the changes are needed to enable it to better understand the ability of the planning process and the planned transmission system to provide for these potential drivers.

In addition, PJM proposed an expansion of the current “bright line” criteria for determining when a transmission upgrade is needed.

Under existing criteria, until a facility is found to reach 100% of its applicable limit, there is no reliability violation and PJM is not required to study potential transmission solutions.  The proposed change would give the grid operator additional flexibility in its planning criteria by expanding PJM analyses to include sensitivity studies, modeling assumption variations and scenario analysis. PJM said the change would enable it to identify the most effective transmission system upgrades to satisfy the needs of the system.

PJM also proposed increasing stakeholder input and participation throughout the RTEP process. Specifically, it proposed providing stakeholders more opportunity to provide input and submit suggestions into the assumptions to be used in the studies and scenario analyses prior to the initial assumptions meetings; upon issuance of the range of assumptions to be used in the studies and analyses; and on the study results, including the sensitivity studies and scenario analyses, as well as on the projects to be included in the RTEP.

Finally, the filing included the formation of an independent state agencies committee (ISAC) comprising interested state agencies within the PJM footprint.

In its filing, the grid operator said the changes would allow PJM to perform more extensive scenario planning analysis. PJM proposed that the filing be made effective May 1.