PJM’s newly filed plan to comply with FERC’s Order 1000 on transmission planning stresses public-policy input, a new mechanism for the submission of project proposals, and a transparent process for the review of transmission plans.

The eastern and Midwestern grid operator said its filing is designed to boost competition, increase the participation of states and others, and to incorporate policy requirements such as renewable portfolio standards.

“PJM is building on a solid planning process that has achieved results, that has already expanded stakeholder participation and involves the states in transmission planning,” said PJM CEO Terry Boston, in a statement.

The submission, filed on Oct. 25, called for “windows” of varying lengths through which transmission entities may submit project proposals. The windows are for projects requiring a long lead time of five or more years; short-term projects of four to five years; immediate-need reliability projects of three years or less, and market efficiency projects.

In its final rule on Order 1000, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires transmission planners to take into account public-policy initiatives such as demand response or environmental measures. Public utility transmission providers must establish procedures to identify the transmission needs that are driven by policy requirements.

PJM said its plan exceeds FERC’s public-policy requirements, as well as proposing that “at risk” generation can be included in transmission planning and analysis.

The commission earlier this year approved PJM’s proposed enhancements to transmission planning which expanded stakeholder participation and addressed policy considerations.

I think it’s pretty remarkable that they have come together and they have ultimately agreed on a new cost allocation…” – Kormos

“The earlier filing showed that FERC’s transmission planning process accommodates not only new technologies such as storage but also changing patterns of consumers’ use of electricity such as demand response,” PJM said.

The King of Prussia. Pa.-based grid operator urged the commission to consider its “holistic approach” to transmission planning and management in evaluating the submission.

Its proposals “should be judged with the understanding that PJM as an independent organization seeks to ensure that its market design and planning process operate as an integrated whole,” the filing said.

And it called on the commission to balance its own desire for competitive solicitation with the need to meet imminent reliability needs in the short term.

PJM’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Mike Kormos, said in a presentation on the filing that significant improvements in the grid’s infrastructure have been made since the planning process has been in place.

The enhancements include approval of $21 billion in transmission upgrades; interconnection of 7,200 MW of renewable generation, with another 4,500 MW under construction; aging infrastructure has been rebuilt, and new technology such as phased measurement units has been installed.

The compliance filing provides a “more structured” approach to competition, Kormos said. “We have tried to recognize that in every category, we want to provide the opportunity for competition,” he said.

Kormos also praised an agreement between transmission operators on cost allocation, a historically contentious area that been extensively litigated.

“I think it’s pretty remarkable that they have come together and they have ultimately agreed on a new cost allocation…to hopefully avoid a lot of going-forward litigation,” he said.

For high-voltage lines of 500 kv or more, plus double-circuit 345kv lines, 50 percent of the cost will be based on flow analysis and 50 percent will be spread across the entire PJM footprint, in recognition of the benefits of transmission upgrades to the whole grid, he said.