Operator to address electric grid problems exposed by polar vortex
One way that PJM Interconnection views its complex task of regulating the flow of electricity to 61 million customers across a 13-state territory is to think about a car on a cold morning.
If the destination is important enough, the car owner will take measures — such as buying an engine or car battery heater — the night before to make sure the car starts that morning.
PJM believes the same can be true for owners of power plants.
This August, the Valley Forge-based electric grid operator will take bids from generators to decide what price they should be paid to produce power during the delivery year between June 2018 and June 2019. The capacity auction, in its ninth year, is intended to give generators pricing signals for their individual power plants and offer them the appropriate incentives to send power onto the grid.
But this year’s auction will feature new rules, approved by federal regulators earlier this month, drawn up in the aftermath of the 2014 polar vortex when bursts of unprecedentedly cold weather that hit PJM the hardest. As much as 22 percent of the capacity that producers had promised was not available, and power prices more than tripled from previous winters.