NYISO, PJM, and ISO New England interregional committee releases 2017 Northeast Coordinated System Plan

No new needs identified for interregional transmission projects

The interconnections between neighboring electric power systems allow for the exchange of electric energy and capacity, facilitating access to a wider diversity of resources and the more economic trading of energy. Identifying the need for interregional transmission projects and regional system reinforcements, quantifying their possible benefits and other impacts, and resolving planning issues with potential cross-border effects can enhance the reliability and efficiency of the power system overall. The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), ISO New England (ISO-NE), and PJM (i.e., the Regional Transmission Organization [RTO] for all or parts of 13 eastern and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia) work collaboratively to coordinate the planning of their interconnected systems. On April 24, 2018, the ISO/RTOs released the 2017 Northeast Coordinated System Plan (NCSP17), which summarizes the group’s 2016 and 2017 interregional planning efforts.

Compliance with Order No. 1000

A main focus of NCSP17 is the regions’ joint compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order No. 1000, which addresses interregional transmission planning and cost allocation. The report summarizes the order’s interregional requirements as well as each region’s overall planning approach, which the ISO/RTOs have revised to conform to the order.

Interregional planning activities

NCSP17 reports that based on the joint discussions in 2016 and 2017, NYISO, PJM, and ISO-NE determined that as of the end of 2017, 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. As part of these discussions, the three ISO/RTOs presented to stakeholders the status of several ongoing planning needs assessments and solutions that could have potential interregional impacts.

PJM discussed that a transmission owner’s project in that region mitigated an identified economic issue on its Susquehanna–Harwood 230 kV line, the most significant issue near NYISO, and that all other border issues were smaller and most efficiently resolved by low-cost upgrades of the incumbent facility owners. The NYISO evaluated and selected a project to add transfer capability from western New York for hydroelectric output and Canadian resource imports and currently is evaluating a need to increase transfer capability across the central-east and upstate New York/southeast New York transmission interfaces.

ISO-NE discussed that it’s interconnection queue currently contains several proposed generating facilities and elective transmission upgrades to interconnect New England and either New York or Canada for importing resources into New England. Because these proposed projects could have impacts on neighboring systems, several of the proposed interregional control system interactions must be analyzed to ensure system stability and acceptable system response to contingencies in New England.

Three planning processes

The document also compares the timing of each region’s key interregional planning activities for identifying and evaluating reliability, economic, and public policy needs and solutions and sharing data as needed. The completion dates differ for the individual ISO/RTO resource adequacy, transmission planning, economic performance, and other studies, but cross-border coordination of planning activities occurs continuously. For updating interregional production cost databases, the three ISO/RTOs typically exchange economic information the first quarter and power flow models the third quarter. They also annually coordinate stability models but update them more frequently as required.

Other interregional activities

NCSP17 summarizes other national and interregional activities the neighboring areas participate in with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and its regional entities—the Northeast Power Coordinating Council and ReliabilityFirst Corporation—as well as the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative that performs interconnection-wide transmission analysis, and the ISO/RTO Council (IRC). The IRC works collaboratively with the nine functioning ISOs and RTOs in the United States and Canada to develop effective processes, tools, and standard methods for improving competitive electricity markets across much of North America. IRC members have also coordinated on a number of technical planning issues, such as the use of software and planning techniques that model distributed energy resources.

Interregional planning protocol

To better coordinate their collaborative planning efforts for the interconnected system and studies of projects with potential cross-border impacts, ISO-NE, NYISO, and PJM follow the Amended and Restated Northeastern ISO/RTO Planning Coordination Protocol. The protocol, first implemented in 2004, was amended in 2015 to address the requirements of Order No. 1000. Through the Joint ISO/RTO Planning Committee (JIPC) and its open stakeholder group, called the Interregional Planning Stakeholder Advisory Committee (IPSAC), the three entities adhere to the protocol to address and discuss 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.

JIPC also reviews potential opportunities where interregional projects might satisfy the needs of more than one region. Qualified developers may submit proposals to two or more neighboring ISO/RTOs consistent with the requirements of the respective regional processes. The proposals can be for reliability projects, economic projects, public policy projects, and other transmission system projects planned by the respective regions. JIPC coordinates the studies, data, and models needed to identify potential interregional impacts and evaluates the projects that could affect interregional system performance.

The next IPSAC meeting scheduled for May 18, 2018; interested parties can register at the PJM IPSAC registration page. IPSAC membership is open to all members of ISO-NE’s Planning Advisory Committee (PAC); they do not require any further actions to receive meeting notices or access to all materials. To join the PAC, complete the PAC Access Request Form.

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FERC, transmission planning