First, don’t panic.
We’ve seen alarming statements (attributed to PJM) that the region we serve faces possible blackouts this winter because of coal plant retirements.
First, PJM has NOT said there’s a higher threat to the grid this winter (2014/2015).
We have identified potential problems after that if there’s another “Polar Vortex,” like the unusual one we experienced in January.
While coal retirements are a factor in the challenges we see for upcoming winters, we believe they are manageable. The larger issue is the performance of generators (all types of generators) during very cold weather. If generators of all fuel types are available to run and perform with normal efficiency and flexibility during cold weather, PJM should have fewer problems dealing with the highest demands for electricity in winter.
PJM and our stakeholders are in the middle of discussions on ways to encourage stronger generator performance during winter months. We expect a final proposal in November.