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US eastern grid operators describe their coordinated system planning activities

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US eastern grid operators describe their coordinated system planning activities

The PJM Interconnection, the New York ISO and ISO New England have released their 2017 Northeast Coordinated System Plan summarizing their interregional planning efforts during 2016 and 2017.

The recently released report by the grid operators' interregional committee focuses on their joint efforts to comply with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Order 1000, which addresses interregional transmission planning and cost allocation. The report summarized the interregional planning requirements of the FERC rule and how the grid operators revised their planning approaches to comply with that rule.

In addition, the report said that as of the end of 2017, the grid operators determined that no interregional transmission projects would be more efficient or cost-effective in meeting the transmission system needs of multiple regions than proposed regional system improvements. For instance, PJM reported that a transmission owner's project in its market region mitigated an identified economic issue on its Susquehanna-Harwood 230-kV line, which was the most significant issue near the NYISO's territory and that all other border issues were smaller and would be best resolved with low-cost upgrades addressed by the incumbent facility owners.

The NYISO evaluated and selected a project to add transfer capability from western New York for hydroelectric output and Canadian imports. It is also currently evaluating a need to increase transfer capability across the central-east and upstate-southeast New York transmission interfaces.

The ISO-NE said its interconnection queue has several proposed generating facilities and elective transmission upgrades to interconnect New England with either New York or Canada for imports into New England. Because the proposed projects could affect neighboring systems, it said the related interregional control system interactions must be analyzed to ensure grid stability is maintained and the system can respond to contingencies in New England.

In addition, the report compared the timing of each region's interregional planning activities for identifying and evaluating reliability, economic, and public policy needs and solutions as well as their sharing of data. Each grid operator has different timelines for completing studies on resource adequacy, transmission planning and economic performance, but the cross-border coordination of planning activities occurs continuously.

For updating interregional production cost databases, the three grid operators typically exchange economic information during the first quarter of each year and power flow models in the third quarter. They also annually coordinate stability models but update them more frequently as required.

The 2017 Northeast Coordinated System Plan also summarized other national and interregional activities, including the grid reliability organization the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and its regional entities the Northeast Power Coordinating Council and ReliabilityFirst Corporation, the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative that performs interconnection-wide transmission analysis, and the ISO/RTO Council.

The ISO-NE, NYISO and PJM all follow a Northeastern ISO/RTO planning coordination protocol to better coordinate their collaborative interconnection system planning efforts and for studies of projects with potential cross-border impacts. The regions first implemented the protocol in 2004 and amended the protocol in 2015 to address FERC Order 1000.

Through the Joint ISO/RTO Planning Committee and its open stakeholder group, the three entities adhere to the protocol in addressing and discussing interregional system needs and proposed system improvements that reflect resource diversity, environmental compliance obligations, and resource retirements, in addition to the integration of distributed and variable energy resources.