Thursday, February 8, 2024

PJM Reports Natural Gas Power Plants Were Over Half The Forced Outages During Winter Storm Gerri In January; Special Procedures Used For Gas Generators Raised Questions About Market Impacts

 PJM Interconnection staff presentation slides for a February 8 meeting of the Operating Committee showed natural gas-fired power plants accounted for over half the forced outages of generating capacity during Winter Storm Gerri that occurred from January 14 to 22.

Don Kujawski, Operations Manager for PJM, said while natural gas had some “missteps,” overall performance was better than during Winter Storm Elliott in December 2022 when 70% of the outages were natural gas units.

However, the key difference between Elliott and Gerri was that Gerri primarily impacted the western region of PJM that does not include most of Pennsylvania, especially major natural gas producing areas. 

As a result, Gerri caused fewer problems with natural gas infrastructure in Pennsylvania, including gas production loss.

PJM staff said gas production declined by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day-- about a 4% decline in the Northeast US-- during Winter Storm Gerri.  

The much harder hit mid-continent and southeast areas of the US had a 27% and 28% decline, respectively.  Texas experienced a 22% decline.

During Winter Storm Elliot, natural gas production in Pennsylvania alone dropped by more than 20%, along with the loss of pipeline compression capacity that further restricted natural gas supplies, according to PJM.

PJM said during Gerri, all natural gas pipelines did experience various levels of daily and hourly capacity and contractual restrictions and there were only a couple of minor compressor station issues that were rectified relatively quickly.

Kujawski said for Gerri, PJM developed a new procedure for making sure natural gas-fired power plants would actually be able to produce power when called on by PJM.  They also had a special text group established with natural gas facilities to improve communications.

“So one of the things we did was we hedged our risk a little bit by calling the [natural gas] generation a little bit earlier, because there are different nomination timelines in the cycle, to make sure that they were able to get the gas now,” said Kujawski.

“So let's just say we scheduled them at two in the morning for 12 in the afternoon. I'm just making up times. That's going to accomplish a couple of things,” explained Kujawski

“One, it's going to give them the opportunity to get the gas, give them the dispatch instruction, be online at this time, which I think is a little bit greater lead time, which is going to help out the generators and hopefully increase their performance.

“Two, it is going to give us in dispatch the ability to react if they can't get online.  

“So let's just say we call them several hours in advance, tell them that we expect them online at a certain time. Then they call us back and say, "We can't get gas, it's not available. We're going to have to take an outage." 

“We have a lot more time to react to that information and then make other operational decisions. 

“During Winter Storm Elliott, we had very little notice of generator unavailability, so this is one of the reasons why we took this approach to give ourselves more time. Just in case there was generator unavailability, we would know it sooner,” said Kujawski.

There were questions from several Operations Committee members, other generators, about how this new procedure for natural gas generators would impact the PJM power market and prices. 

PJM said those questions were for a discussion at a later date.

Click Here for a copy of PJM’s presentation slides.

Related Articles - Grid Reliability:

-- PJM Preliminary Performance Review Found 16,119 MW Of Forced Power Plant Outages During Winter Storm Gerri Affecting The Western Region Of PJM   [PaEN]

-- PUC Vice Chairman [Now Chair]: During Winter Storm Elliot We Learned Natural Gas Can Be An Intermittent Generator Of Electricity Just Like Renewables  [PaEN]

-- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, NERC Final Report On Winter Storm Elliott Says Legislative Action Needed To Establish Reliability Rules For Natural Gas Infrastructure  [PaEN]

-- New NERC Winter Reliability Assessment Finds Elevated Risk Of Blackouts In Extreme Weather Conditions; Natural Gas Supplies Still Vulnerable To These Conditions With 'Devastating Consequences'  [PaEN]

-- S&P Global: Federal Inquiry Finds Same 3 Causes Driving U.S. Generate Outages In Extreme Cold - Reliability Of Natural Gas System Remains A Concern  [PaEN]

-- PJM Urges United Action To Sustain Grid Reliability Through The Energy Transition, Avoid Unreliability Issues Of Natural Gas, Other Generators [PaEN]

-- FERC Approves PJM $1.25 Billion Winter Storm Elliot Settlement With Non-Performing Natural Gas, Other Electricity Generators [PaEN]

-- PJM Makes Multiple Reliability-Focused Improvements To Prepare For Winter To Deal With 70% Natural Gas, Other Generator Nonperformance In 2022 [PaEN]

-- House Hearing: Shapiro Administration Supports Expanding Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards; Renewables Lower Energy Costs; Increase Grid Reliability; More Work Needed To Improve Gas Reliability [PaEN]

-- PUC Winter Natural Gas Reliability Overview Reports Now Available; But Do Not Address Winter Storm Elliot Issues  [PaEN]

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Just 14 Days: PA Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Jan. 27 to Feb. 9 - More Abandoned Conventional, Shale Gas Wells; Spills, Venting Gas, Contaminated Water Supplies  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices, Opportunities To Comment - February 10 [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 74 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In February 10 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

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-- DEP Begins Emergency Project To Plug Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells In Scott Twp., Allegheny County; DEP Tried To Get Well Operators To Stop The Leaks For Nearly 9 Years  [PaEN] 

-- Guest Essay: DEP Ignored Abandoned Wells During Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permitting Process - By Laurie Barr, Save Our Streams PA  [PaEN]  

-- DEP OKs Cameron Energy Applications For Plugging 3 Orphan Conventional Wells Under Blanket Bond Increase Waiver Program; Denied 1 Plugged Well Leaking Crude Oil  [PaEN]

-- PA Utility Law Project, Public Citizen Host Feb. 16 Webinar Exploring The Impact Of LNG Natural Gas Exports On Pennsylvania Families  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Hearing Board Narrows, But Allows Protect PT Appeal Of Shale Gas Well Permit Renewals In Westmoreland County To Move Forward   [PaEN] 

-- Liberty Twp., Citizens Group Appeal EHB Decision On Permit For Tri-County Landfill In Mercer County Over Threats Posed By Birds, Radioactive Oil & Gas Waste  [PaEN] 

-- PJM Reports Natural Gas Power Plants Were Over Half The Forced Outages During Winter Storm Gerri In January; Special Procedures Used For Gas Generators Raised Questions About Market Impacts  [PaEN]


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-- Inside Climate News: Q&A: New Rules In PA Require Drillers To Disclose Toxic Chemicals Used In Fracking 

-- TribLive: Environmentalists, Natural Gas Drillers’ Group Divided On Transparency On Fracking Fluid Disclosures 

-- The Energy Age Blog: PA DEP Begins Emergency Project To Plug Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells [Video From Plugging Site] 

-- TribLive: Penn Township Board Will Visit Proposed Hyperion [Olympus Energy] Natural Gas Compressor Site 

-- Inquirer - Will Bunch: Democracy Dies When PA Pols Tell Their Own Voters To Drop Dead On Fracking  [Proposed LNG Plant In Chester, Delaware County] 

-- Markets Insider: New Study Questions LNG Natural Gas As A ‘Bridge Fuel’ In Decarbonization

-- Forbes Guest Essay: US Natural Gas Prices Could Spike 14% Without Biden’s Pause On New LNG Export Terminal Permits Costing Consumers $18 Billion

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--  Daily Herald - Salena Zito:  Democrats Say Biden’s Pause On New LNG Natural Gas Export Facilities Is Like ‘Throwing A Match In A Bale Of Hay’ [PA included]

-- Bradford Era: Feb. 10 Town Hall In Cyclone, McKean County To Discuss Appeal Of Catalyst Energy, Inc. Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permit 

[Posted: February 8, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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