ISO-NE collaborates with PJM and Penn State on DOE-backed project to bolster grid reliability

Every day, ISO New England system operators face the complex task of managing the regional power grid amid evolving energy demands. As the energy landscape shifts toward renewable sources such as solar and wind, alongside the integration of battery storage, ensuring a reliable electricity system across the region is more crucial than ever.

Penn State, with support from an $815,959 grant from the Grid Deployment Office of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is embarking on a project to assess market designs that evaluate prospective design changes related to incorporating batteries and other non-traditional energy resources into wholesale electricity markets.

Partnering with ISO New England and PJM Interconnection (PJM), this project, one of six initiatives awarded up to $10.6 million by the Biden-Harris Administration, seeks to fortify wholesale electricity markets for improved grid resilience and reliability.

Mort Webster, a professor of energy engineering at Penn State, and his team will model ISO New England’s and PJM’s electricity markets and propose design changes geared toward optimizing reliability, efficiency, and investment incentives.

“The current operational structure, designed for instant response in five-minute increments, now necessitates forward thinking up to twelve hours ahead,” Webster said. “This is a pressing concern shared by regional transmission organizations like PJM and ISO-NE.”

The new project will leverage this simulation model to evaluate a spectrum of market design changes and quantify associated trade-offs.

Matthew White, vice president of Market Development and Settlements and chief economist at ISO New England, emphasized the importance of innovation and collaboration in facilitating a successful transition toward clean energy.

“ISO New England is proud to partner with Penn State and our colleagues at PJM on this exciting project,” White said.

Stu Bresler, executive vice president of Market Services and Strategy at PJM, underscored the project’s aim of optimizing market rules to accommodate the dynamic nature of modern power systems while ensuring reliable and affordable electricity service.

“Penn State’s modeling will allow PJM and ISO New England to explore market rule changes that optimize the performance of power systems in an increasingly dynamic and less predictable environment,” Bresler said. “This work aims to enhance competitive markets to continue delivering reliable electricity service to consumers at affordable costs.”

The DOE said the approved projects “will help facilitate the improvement and creation of more efficient and flexible wholesale electricity markets, essential for ensuring grid resilience and reliability for American homes and businesses.”

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