Amid the debates on Capitol Hill regarding climate change and the growing interest in renewable energy, PJM Interconnection is launching a one-stop resource to better understand renewable energy resources on the PJM power grid.   The Renewable Energy Dashboard at green.pjm.com illustrates a user-friendly snapshot of the amount and type of generation that currently provides power to the 51 million people in the PJM region. The dashboard also features a map indicating where proposed renewable energy projects are planned and a summary of how much electricity has been produced by renewable sources since 2005.

Wind generation accounts for nearly half of the approximately 100,000 megawatts of new electricity proposed to be built in PJM, according to the dashboard. In addition, biomass — a relatively new renewable energy resource to the grid — joins proposed solar photovoltaic, captured methane, hydro, wood and others considered as renewable sources in the planning process. The amount of renewable energy proposed changes throughout the year as new projects are added and some are withdrawn from the process.

The dashboard reflects PJM’s on-going commitment to examine energy-related issues and provide information as it relates to the power grid and wholesale power market to help inform public policy discussions. A report on “Potential Effects of Proposed Climate Change Policies on PJM’s Energy Market,” released earlier this year by PJM , discusses different scenarios according to proposed guidelines for dealing with carbon dioxide emissions.  PJM continues to study the impact of climate change legislation, as well as the challenges to integrating a large influx of renewable energy onto the power grid.

“If you like renewable energy, you have to love transmission,” said Terry Boston, PJM president and CEO.  He said that industry studies and PJM’s planning process indicate that integrating renewable generation onto the grid will require a significant amount of new transmission projects to be developed. Transmission will be needed to move the wind energy from the areas where it is produced to the population that needs it.

Still, according to Boston, it’s the wholesale power market that recognizes the value of renewable energy and facilitates its development. “The grid may be where it grows, but the market is where it starts,” he said.

The information for the dashboard was gathered in large part from the Generation Attribute Tracking System (GATS), a system developed by PJM affiliate, PJM-EIS. Many states in the country, and most in PJM, have developed target goals for renewable energy, or renewable portfolio standards (RPS). The states within PJM track the amount of renewable generation they produce or buy through the GATS. The GATS, which began tracking renewable energy production in 2005, produces a certificate for each megawatt-hour of renewable power produced. The certificate can be traded with other states to meet RPS requirements.

To learn more about the status of renewable energy in PJM, visit green.pjm.com. For a printable version of the dashboard, visit the PJM Dashboard.

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.