PJM and MISO ran from the altar once before. Now there’s talk of a shotgun wedding.
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Recall that just 10 years ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had called for a unified dispatch with a single energy market across all of PJM and the Midwest ISO, merging the two grids into a single mega-region. Such a marriage, as ruled then, was needed to fully realize efficiencies promised by the commission’s standard market design, as well as to counteract the negative effects of the ragged territorial seam that was created when AEP and Commonwealth Edison threw in with PJM. (See, Alliance Cos., Docket EL02-65 et al., July 31, 2002, 100 ¶FERC 61,137.)
FERC eventually gave up that dream, but only after MISO and PJM had signed joint operating protocols to capture the low-hanging fruit. As the two regions reported in 2005, and as FERC later confirmed, the market efficiencies still to be had by merging the two regional markets and creating a single, joint and common dispatch no longer seemed substantial enough to merit the cost. (Wisc. Pub. Serv. Co. et al. v. MISO, Dkt. EL06-97 et al., Feb. 8, 2007, 118 FERC ¶61,089.)
Of course, no one today suspects FERC will go “back to the future.” Yet the commission could find itself heading down that road, on sheer momentum.