PJM Interconnection’s plan for the future of the nation’s largest
electrical grid includes examining its markets and planning processes to best
ensure reliability while also preparing to meet states’ policy goals, President
and CEO Manu Asthana told a panel of power service professionals April 28.
Asthana said PJM is sketching a vision for what the grid will look like
in 2035, 2040 and beyond. This effort includes examination of market
structures, reliability tools and infrastructure, particularly the
identification of efficient frameworks to accommodate offshore wind and
maturing behind-the-meter technologies.
Asthana identified his three priorities as maintaining reliability of
the grid, emphasizing stakeholder-based solutions to difficult problems, and
developing his people within the PJM organization.
“The most important thing we have to get right, if we get one thing
right, is reliability,” he said. “It’s very clear when you think about it today
how essential electricity is.” He said the onset of the coronavirus pandemic
has only underscored that.
He said the pandemic was discussed in his first week on the job. PJM
was quick to react to the pandemic, banning international travel to the campus
beginning in mid-January, then shifting to a telecommuting posture that began
March 13, he noted.
Most notable, he said, is the implementation of a third, fully
operational control room run by a sequestered crew of operators. As PJM
coordinated its response internally, with regulatory and government and
industry partners, it extended that experience and knowledge sharing to empower
stakeholders. Sharing of information, resources and best practices continues
through regular communication and teleconferences.
Asthana reflected on gains at PJM in the regional transmission
organization’s capacity for listening and responding to stakeholder concerns. The
stakeholder process, he said, is “a significant strength of the organization. I
see that we have tremendous capability, tremendous passion to do the right
thing – to get the market
structure right and to get the rules right for the long term.”
PJM does not advocate particular policies. Rather, it is PJM’s role to
listen to all stakeholders and perspectives and bring expertise to bear to help
achieve the three priorities of reliability, planning and market function for
the most efficient delivery of power to the 65 million customers in the
footprint spanning 13 states and Washington, D.C.
“The diversity of thought and the amount of passion and energy that our
stakeholders bring to the process is significant,” he said. “I want to use our
stakeholders to arrive at workable solutions.”
As a measure of success in 2020, he reflected on PJM’s recent
compliance filing to FERC regarding the capacity market and the Minimum Offer
Price Rule, or MOPR, which was crafted with significant stakeholder input that
included nine listening sessions at regular stakeholder meetings.
“I hope our stakeholders feel they were listened to, and we took a
balanced approach,” he said.
He also pointed to the recently filed risk mitigation enhancements to the
PJM Tariff and Operating Agreement, which also were crafted with stakeholders
and received overwhelming stakeholder backing.
“Ultimately, our stakeholders supported us and helped to make the
proposal better. It shows how our process can work, and we can be very flexible
to find the right answers for the market,” he said.
Asthana reiterated his leadership philosophy – that leaders have a responsibility to develop
their team members. “I believe strongly that leaders grow people,” he said. Asthana
said he was already impressed with the team at PJM. “They are highly capable,
world-class people who are looking to do the right thing every time.”
His four months on the job have not been what he could have foreseen
amid a global health crisis, he said.
“It has been humbling to be reminded that we don’t get to write the
script by which we can make a difference,” he said. “But we can rise to the
occasion. I am proud of my team for their choices to do just that.”
Original source: PJM