Three major electric transmission upgrades recently approved by the PJM Interconnection board are in New Jersey and proposed by Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) subsidiary Public Service Electric and Gas, according to a PJM spokesperson.
The largest project involves upgrades to the 138-kV system in the Linden, N.J., area, the spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Dec. 6.
The project’s cost is $250m and it has a required in-service date of June 1, 2017. The spokesperson also said the project will resolve reliability violations that relate to overloads on the lines and in the substations.
The project includes a new substation at the Newark Liberty International Airport, the spokesperson said, adding, “In addition to the reliability violations that the project solves, it also improves the electric service reliability to Newark International.”
Another project is in north New Jersey and will cost $105m. It involves building a new 69-kV substation and looping in some new 69-kV lines to tie together some substations, the spokesperson added, noting that the in-service date is June 1, 2016.
The third project is in the Brunswick area of New Jersey, has a cost of $47m and a required in-service date of June 1, 2017, the spokesperson said. It involves reconfiguring a 230-kV substation to handle voltage problems.
The spokesperson also said that the approval is final from PJM’s perspective, noting that other permits are still needed for projects to go forward.
While the larger projects are in New Jersey, the others are throughout PJM, such as in the service territories of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE), Exelon’s (NYSE:EXC) Commonwealth Edison, and Dominion (NYSE:D), according to the spokesperson.
“A lot of times, the really big projects – multi-state, 500-kV line, 345-kV lines – grab a lot of attention and people say, ‘Do you need transmission anymore?,’” the spokesperson said, adding, “Big projects get a lot of attention, especially at the local level, but there are lots of smaller projects that add up to billions of dollars that are needed to keep the lights on.”
PJM said on Dec. 5 that its board has approved almost $1bn in additional electric transmission upgrades to maintain reliable power supplies for the 60 million people in PJM’s region, adding that altogether this year, the board has authorized $4.7bn in transmission projects.
The upgrades address projected reliability problems and the approvals are part of PJM’s regional transmission expansion plan, which ensures the reliability of the high-voltage transmission system over the next 15 years, PJM said.
“The regional transmission expansion planning process keeps us on a steady course of focusing on long-term reliability even amid a sea of changes like those we’ve seen this past year,” PJM President and CEO Terry Boston said in the statement. “We’ve seen announced retirements of almost 16,000 MW of generation and a dramatic shift toward an increase of natural gas-fired generation.”
The regional plan includes various projects, including improvements and changes to substations, transformers and existing transmission facilities, throughout PJM’s region in almost all of its transmission zones.
PJM also said that since its formal planning process began in 2000, its board has authorized $23bn in transmission additions and upgrades.