PJM’s Commitment to Reliability, Expansion, and Interconnection Initiatives
PJM is a non-profit Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that plans and operates the interconnected grid across 13 states and the District of Columbia. Although PJM does not own power lines or generators, it is a FERC regulated organization that directs the operation of power lines and generators for many different owners as well as acts as an agent to provide fair access to the transmission system for competing suppliers and electricity users.
As part of its transmission planning role, PJM develops a Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) through its Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee (TEAC), subregional RTEP committees and stakeholders. The process identifies required expansion to maintain minimum reliability criteria within the RTO footprint.
The latest RTEP developed by the PJM Board of Managers and approved by the Board identified approximately $5 billion worth of proposed projects required to accommodate electricity demand growth (up to 7,500 MW of new data centers), generator retirements (deactivation of more than 11,000 MW of generation) and future capacity needs needed to maintain baseline reliability.
Projects to solve defined needs were solicited through the 2022 Regional Transmission Expansion Planning Window 3 (Feb. 24 to May 31, 2023), with criteria that sought to optimize system expansions through 2028 and expandability after 2028. The proposed solution includes new substations, new transmission lines and improvements to existing facilities with a majority using existing facilities and rights of way (through either repurposing/rebuilding existing assets or paralleling existing rights of way, which can reduce costs and minimize impacts to local areas) along with some greenfield development. PJM does not site the facilities or transmission lines nor determine their routes. This is the next step in the process and will be completed by the developers designated by PJM to construct the projects.
Throughout 2023, PJM has continued to study new service customer requests that are submitted into their interconnection queue to evaluate the impact of the new service request and include an evaluation of new generation interconnections, increases in generation at existing stations, long-term firm transmission service requests and merchant transmission interconnection requests. The newly approved RTEP will serve as the current baseline plan to analyze future interconnection requests.
Since the last Board Reliability Committee review in December of 2022, PJM has completed 151 System Impact Studies, and had 166 service requests withdrawn. Analysis of new projects with signed Interconnection Service Agreements, project scope changes and project cancellations resulted in $179.58 million in new network upgrades with $41.45 million in previously identified network upgrades being cancelled. This yields an overall RTEP net increase of $138.13 million in interconnection upgrades.
Baseline transmission enhancement costs discussed earlier are allocated to PJM responsible customers while interconnection upgrade costs are the responsibility of project developers. Full details of the RTEP projects as well as the annual update of RTEP generation and merchant transmission network upgrades are posted at the links below. A listing of the projects with recently completed impact studies is provided in Attachment C to the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee (TEAC) Recommendations to the PJM Board White Paper, while a listing of the network upgrades associated with these projects is shown in Attachment D.
The map excerpted below shows the locations of the new units associated with the completed interconnection System Impact Studies along with the fuel type and relative size.
Whether you are interconnecting a new renewable site, trying to design an optimize brownfield facility upgrade or designing a greenfield solution, NEI’s engineers and project managers can be your trusted partner in evaluating opportunities and designing optimal solutions. Give our team of power system professionals a call, we can help.
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