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Distributed Energy Resources Enabled by the Smart Grid – Opportunities in PJM’s

March 31, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Distributed Energy Resources Enabled by the Smart Grid – Opportunities in PJM’s Markets

Susan Covino, PJM

Electricity. It’s always there & ready to go—plug something in, flip a switch and it works. Turn it off whenever you choose. No problem. Who makes sure this happens for us? Electricity is not easily stored, so, somehow, the power generation and power consumption must be closely matched, real time.

For our area, it is the PJM Interconnection. Headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, PJM is a regional transmission operator (RTO) responsible for managing continuous electricity flow for 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia. PJM’s primary purpose is grid reliability—to balance electricity supply and demand, manage weather impacts and perfect generation dispatch for North America’s largest transmission system. (Not everyone is served by an RTO, we’re lucky. There are nine other RTOs across the country managing about 60% of the power supply.)

The cost to generate electricity varies minute by minute, but of course the price we pay doesn’t. Our consumer prices are usually set for periods at a time. Others, however, are buying and selling electricity (and related products) in fast moving wholesale markets, which are operated by PJM. It is in these markets that the forces of real time supply and demand play out to be sure that our electricity needs are met adequately and at, hopefully, the lowest cost possible.

At our March meeting, Susan Convino of PJM will explain to us how these wholesale markets work and give us an understanding of PJM’s role as Regional Transmission Operator for the Mid-Atlantic region’s bulk power system. She’ll describe market players (generators, regulatory, operators) in general, with special emphasis on Distributed Energy Resources (DER). DER is the umbrella term for a group of evolving customer-side technologies that can be aggregated to provide (or save) power necessary to meet demand, including energy efficiency, demand response, on-site renewable generation and on-site energy storage.

Main points covered in this presentation–

·  An understanding of the role and mission of PJM as Regional Transmission Operator for the Mid-Atlantic region’s bulk power system.  The PJM market region includes all or part of 13 states and the District of Columbia.

·  A summary of how Distributed Energy Resources (including Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, on-site Renewable resources, and on-site storage) can currently participate in PJM’s Energy, Capacity, and Ancillary Services markets.  These markets are designed to ensure reliable wholesale power deliveries at the lowest possible cost.  Examples of market value provided by load side resources will be shared.  The presentation will also discuss the current challenge for DER posed by a May, 2014 U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision and PJM’s proposal for meeting this challenge.

·  A vision of active, informed electricity customers enabled by Smart Grid technology and by PJM’s Price Responsive Demand (PRD) option.

The presentation will be appropriate for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how electricity markets work and the role of Distributed Energy Resources. It is not necessary that you have a background in this area. Ample explanation will be given for new topics and terms. Susan is a warm and friendly expert and looks forward to hearing our questions.

We hope you can join us for Susan Covino’s talk on Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00 in Breinigsville, PA (between Kutztown and Allentown) at TEKPark. We are delighted to have her! You’ll find detailed directions, please see here. Meetings are free and open to the public.

After the meeting, please plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. We’re also interested in your ideas for MAREA speakers, activities and services. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

Susan Covino is the Senior Consultant, Emerging Markets at PJM.  She previously served PJM as the Manager for Demand Side Response. Ms. Covino previously served The New Power Company as a Director, Government Affairs covering New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, PJM, and FERC.  Prior to that Ms. Covino was a Director, Government Affairs covering gas and electric matters for Enron in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions of the U.S.  Ms. Covino served as Vice President and General Counsel of KCS Energy Marketing, Inc. from 1992 to 1997.  She began her career in the energy industry as a Staff Attorney for Elizabethtown Gas in 1978.  She was graduated from Dickinson School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1978 and from the University of Connecticut summa cum laude with a double major in economics and history in 1975.  Ms. Covino is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. To learn more, see Guest Interview with Susan Covino of PJM from the Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid.

For questions, contact Vera Cole, <a>[masked]</a> or [masked].

Free DVD with MAREA membership  While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of “Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. You can join at the meeting or anytime online. Thanks for your help. 


TEK Park
9999 Hamilton Blvd.
Breinigsville, PA 18031 us


Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (eastern PA)