Various companies propose new transmission projects in PJM to address southern New Jersey’s needs

Several companies, including FirstEnergy subsidiaries, Atlantic Grid Holdings and Transource Energy, have proposed building new transmission lines to address the needs of the transmission system and nuclear plants in the area of southern New Jersey known as Artificial Island.

PJM said on July 25 that it has posted redacted public versions of the Artificial Island RTEP Window Proposals, which stem from the first “open window” for a new process to allow non-utility competitors, in addition to local utilities, to propose solutions to power grid needs in specific areas.

The window for proposals opened on April 29, PJM said, and according to its website, the window closed on June 28.

FERC Order 1000 prompted the new approach, which expands the number of participants competing to provide innovative, competitive and cost-effective solutions. Previously, it was typically up to only existing utilities to solve.

PJM will evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed solutions and communicate the next steps with stakeholders through the regularly scheduled meetings of the PJM Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee.

PJM expects to open additional proposal windows this year as issues are identified through its continuous review of the electric transmission system.

TransmissionHub provides examples of some of the proposals below.

Dominion Virginia Power

Virginia Electric and Power (Dominion Virginia Power), was among the companies that responded, submitting two proposals, including its “Artificial Island Area Proposal 2,” in which it proposed a 500-kV line emanating from the Salem station to a new station in Delaware across the Delaware River.

Through two 500/230-kV transformers, the proposed line connects to two 230-kV lines that originate from the Cedar Creek station to the Red Lion station. One of the 230-kV lines does not terminate at the Cedar Creek station but passes by, the company added, noting that both 230-kV lines are on the same right-of-way.

Depending on the availability of the right-of-way, the length of the new line can vary from six miles to 18 miles, with the maximum length being when the new line follows the existing right-of-way from Salem to Red Lion. Since Red Lion is a 500-kV station, 500/230-kV transformers are not required.

Dominion has performed a high level review of routing in the proposal. For the short line, it is estimated the line would use/require new right of way spanning the Delaware River for about six miles to the existing 230-kV corridor. For the long line, there appears to be right of way that would parallel the existing Hope Creek to Red Lion 500-kV line 5015. The company further noted that the path is almost 100% wetlands and includes a Delaware River crossing. The line would be about 18 miles long.

For either of the options, or any options in between, Dominion would have to further explore routing options but due to the short window, that was not fully addressed in this alternative, the company said.

Permitting would be required from federal, state and local jurisdictions, with state and local permits required in Delaware and New Jersey. It is estimated that 60 to 72 months after project approval will be needed to complete the project.

Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), also said that the total estimated cost for the “Short 6 mile line option proposal” is $126m, and $202m for the “Long 18 mile line option proposal.”

FirstEnergy subsidiaries

FirstEnergy, in its June 27 proposed solution and request for construction designation filing, said its proposal considers several options for mitigating stability issues, identifies one option as the proposed solution and requests that its subsidiaries, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) and Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company (TrAILCo), be designated to build the portion of the proposed solution that will be located in the JCP&L transmission zone.

Specifically, FirstEnergy said it recommends construction of a new 500-kV line from the New Freedom to Smithburg substations, supplemented by a new 500-kV line between Hope Creek and Red Lion. FirstEnergy said it would make the final determination as to which of its subsidiaries would finance, build, own, operate and maintain the new line.

Based on previous PJM and FirstEnergy analyses, the transmission system in the JCP&L Zone will need additional reinforcement due to the load growth in the JCP&L service area, announced generation retirements and the possibility of the retirement of the Oyster Creek generating station.

FirstEnergy’s study included the possibility of providing a new 500/230-kV source at or near the Larrabee substation for the long-term planning horizon.

The proposed project will add a strong 500/230-kV source in the southern New Jersey/Oyster Creek area, the company added, noting that from an operational perspective, the additional 500/230-kV source in the long term at or near Larrabee increases the operating flexibility during a breaker or path end outage of a 230-kV line out of Smithburg.

In Phase 1 of the proposed solution, among other things, about 43 miles of 500-kV line would be built in the JCP&L Zone and an additional 27 miles of 500-kV line would be built in other zones from the New Freedom to Smithburg substations.

Phase 2 involves looping the proposed New Freedom-Smithburg 500-kV line and installing two 500/230-kV transformers in a ring bus configuration at or near the existing Larrabee substation.

The transmission line portion of Phase 1 has a construction schedule of Jan. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2018, and in-service date of Dec. 31, 2018. The Smithburg substation expansion portion of Phase 1 has an in-service date of June 1, 2018. The construction schedule of the Larrabee substation expansion, or Phase 2, will be based on a three-year construction timeline once the project is authorized.

The grand total of all phases is estimated at $452.3m.

Pepco Holdings, Exelon

In their joint proposal, Pepco Holdings (NYSE:POM) and Exelon (NYSE:EXC) proposed a new 500-kV AC transmission line, referred to as the “PB-S Line,” originating from Exelon’s Peach Bottom South substation, located 50 miles southeast of Harrisburg in York County, Pa., traversing through portions of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey, ending at the Salem substation situated on the Artificial Island in Lower Alloways Creek Township in Salem County, N.J.

The Salem substation is a Lower Delaware Valley facility of which Pepco and Exelon are among the joint owners.

The proposed line will be connected to the existing Keeney and Red Lion substations in Delaware, thereby providing additional operational benefits for the Maryland Delaware regions.

The companies also said that the cost of the PB-S Line is estimated at $476m, and the construction schedule, with both companies working in parallel, is projected to be 60 months.

The companies said they have done surveys of the rights-of-way required to build the line and developed a realistic conceptual design of the necessary transmission facilities to accommodate the line. Conceptually, the new line is planned to traverse existing rights-of-way in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

In Delaware, this will be done through a combination of undergrounding and rearrangement of existing circuits, while in New Jersey, the new line will be built on the existing right-of-way that currently contains the existing 500-kV circuit, or 5015 Line, between the Red Lion and Hope Creek substations.

Among other things, the companies noted that as with any major new transmission project, potential regulatory, environmental and unforeseen situations may arise during the permitting and construction of a new project of this scope.

Also, the estimated schedule is contingent on obtaining timely approvals from multiple state and federal regulatory authorities.

Atlantic Grid Holdings

Atlantic Grid Holdings said in its June 28 proposal that the challenges to grid reliability and operational flexibility can be solved with the Garden State Reliability Project (GSRP), a proposed voltage source converter (VSC) high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system that connects Artificial Island to the Cardiff AC substation near Atlantic City, N.J.

GSRP has the capacity to controllably transmit 1,000 MW of power on its approximately 60-mile underground circuit. The project, which also incorporates static VAR compensator (SVC) facilities, is estimated to cost $1bn and be in service by Dec. 31, 2018.

The company also said that unlike overhead transmission lines that require expensive rights of way, impose environmental impacts and cause public opposition which leads to delay, uncertainty and higher cost, GSRP’s circuit would be installed underground in existing road rights of way.

The ROW access licenses required by GSRP are available from state and county transportation agencies, construction impacts are minimal and short-lived and post-construction, all the transmission facilities except the converter stations are out of sight.

The company further noted that the project improves nuclear security at Artificial Island because the VSCs can controllably deliver remote generation to Artificial Island for enhanced black start capability.

Among other things, Atlantic Grid Holdings said the project could serve as the first leg of a controllable, direct 1,000 MW transmission path extending from Artificial Island into the Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) North (PS North) Locational Deliverability Area if it were connected to Atlantic Grid Holdings’ New Jersey Energy Link project. PS North is historically transmission constrained, leading to high energy and capacity prices, yet short circuit capacity limits and siting constraints in PS North have made it difficult to locate additional generation and transmission in the area.

Atlantic Grid Holdings also noted that it is the company behind the proposed backbone transmission Atlantic Wind Connection project, and its investors are Google, Bregal Energy, Marubeni and Elia.

LS Power Group’s Northeast Transmission Development

Northeast Transmission Development, a member of the LS Power Group, proposed in its filing the Salem – Silver Run 230-kV transmission project to improve PJM operational performance and eliminate planning criteria violations in the Artificial Island area.

The company noted that the project is estimated to provide load savings benefits of $265m for customers of Pepco Holdings’ Delmarva Power.

The project will consist of a new Salem 500/230-kV transformer, a new Silver Run 230-kV switchyard and a new 230-kV transmission line.

The line’s submarine option consists of six submarine 230-kV cables under the Delaware River for about three miles and a single overhead 230-kV circuit in Delaware for about 2.5 miles. The overhead option consists of a single 230-kV overhead circuit with an approximately three-mile overhead transmission line crossing of the Delaware River and about 2.5 miles of overhead transmission line on land.

Construction is expected to begin on April 1, 2016, and the project’s in-service date is June 1, 2017.

The cost of the project is estimated to be about $116.3m – overhead – or $148.3m – submarine.

Northeast Transmission Development also proposed the Salem – Red Lion 500-kV transmission project, and noted in a separate filing that the new Salem – Red Lion 500-kV circuit would run a route parallel, but not on existing transmission rights-of-way, to the existing Hope Creek – Red Lion 500-kV.

Construction is scheduled to begin on April 1, 2018, with the project’s in-service date being Feb. 1, 2019. The project’s estimated cost is $170.1m.

Transource Energy

Transource Energy, a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power (AEP) and Great Plains Energy (GPE), submitted various proposals, including one that entails a new eight-mile, 230-kV transmission line between the Salem nuclear generating facility and the existing Cedar Creek station.

The line would consist of about 2.7 miles of overhead line and about 5.7 miles of underwater line for the crossing of the Delaware Bay.

Additionally, Transource proposed to install two new 500/230-kv 900 MVA transformers near Salem and connect the existing Red Lion to Cartanza 230-kV transmission line to the Cedar Creek station.

Transource said it estimates that the project can be placed into service in 2017 at a capital cost of $213m to $269m.

“The innovative use of underwater 230 kV technology drives cost effectiveness by reducing the length of the new line segment using proven technologies,” the company said. “Cost effectiveness is further reinforced by procurement advantages from the size of AEP and GPE.”

Among other things, the company said that the project reduces loading on several 230-kV lines in the area without introducing any additional thermal violations, and it improves reliability by providing an additional source into Delaware, “which today is largely isolated from the rest of PJM.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3115 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.