Purchasing Wholesale Power
NOVEC purchases electricity from several sources, but almost all of this power travels to the Co-op through the regional high-voltage transmission grid operated by the PJM RTO. The PJM RTO grid once covered Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland – thus giving it the initials PJM – but today PJM extends into13 states and the District of Columbia. PJM states are: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
An RTO is an independent system operator (ISO) that takes responsibility for grid operations, reliability, and transmission service within a defined geographical region. The North American transmission grid includes all of the United States and most of Canada. It comprises nine major RTOs/ISOs. To ensure that these organizations operate efficiently and reliably, the United States government empowers the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) to establish and enforce performance standards for all of them, except for the Texas grid, which the Lone Star state regulates.
While some large-scale battery storage options are now available, many are reserved for emergency situations; the vast majority of electricity must be used when it is generated. For this reason, PJM must have generators up and running to supply electricity when outdoor temperatures soar and customers “demand” more power to run air conditioners, or when utilities restore power to a large number of customers after a major storm.
Ensuring Grid Resiliency
PJM and electric utilities work hard to assure that the transmission system provides superior service. Transmission companies continuously construct new facilities and update or replace outdated ones. PJM also conducts emergency-response drills frequently with all PJM member utilities to ensure readiness. NOVEC participates in these drills with neighboring Dominion, which exports power to NOVEC’s substations through its high-voltage transmission lines.
For more information about the PJM grid, visit www.pjm.com