PJM board approves $4.6bn grid investment including to address thermal, short-circuit problems in New Jersey

PJM Interconnection said on Dec. 11 that its board has approved $4.6bn in additions and upgrades to the high-voltage electric transmission grid, including Public Service Electric and Gas’ (PSE&G) $1.2bn, 345-kV double circuit transmission project in northern New Jersey to address short circuit and thermal problems in that area.

Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG, PSEG), of which PSE&G is a subsidiary, separately said on Dec. 11 that the project will enhance the reliability of the transmission infrastructure and allow for handling of increased load over the next several decades. The upgrades will span from the Linden to Bergen power plants and include upgrading ties to Newark Airport, the Hudson Power Station and New York City connections, the company added. Planning work is underway and construction is expected to be completed within 48 months.

In its statement, PJM said that more than $3bn of the changes to the system are upgrades to connect new generating facilities. Baseline reliability projects with a total estimated cost of $1.5bn were identified in 15 different utility territories. The projects include building a new 500-kV line within an existing right-of-way in the Dominion (NYSE:D) region, new substations in several regions to reinforce lower voltage systems, as well as additional upgrades to improve grid reliability.

PJM also said that in addition, due to the combined effects of other planned transmission upgrades, adjustments in annual load forecasts, generation retirements and other factors, some previously approved transmission projects are no longer needed and have been cancelled.

Among the projects being removed from PJM’s transmission plan is the Toronto-Harmon 345-kV line in FirstEnergy’s (NYSE:FE) American Transmission System Inc.’s territory.

Since the PJM regional transmission expansion planning (RTEP) process began in 2000, the PJM board has approved a net $28.9bn in transmission investment, PJM added.

“With more than 20,000 [MW] of generation retiring in the PJM region and new gas plants being built in various locations to replace them, it’s essential for the transmission system to keep pace,” PJM President and CEO Terry Boston said in the statement. “The good news is that we continue to identify and approve projects needed to make the grid more reliable and resilient.”

In its statement, PSEG said that the $1.2 project was chosen to overcome specific potential reliability issues in the grid but it will also negate the need for several projects that had been planned to solve other identified problems.

The net increase in PSE&G’s planned capital expense will be determined based on the net projects completed, the company said, adding that as a result, PSE&G’s capital spending will increase less than the $1.2bn associated with the 345-kV project.

According to a Nov. 7 document from the PJM Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee, recommendations to the board include projects in Baltimore Gas and Electric’s (BGE) transmission zone. For instance, one project involves installing two 115-kV breakers at Chestnut Hill and removing sag limitations on the Pumphrey – Frederick Rd 115-kV circuits 110527 and 110528. The estimated project cost is $6.4m and the expected in-service date is June 1, 2017.

Upgrades in PPL’s (NYSE:PPL) transmission zone include rebuilding the Providence 69-kV switchyard. Those upgrades address the criteria violation in that the Jenkins-Scranton #1 and #2 69-kV lines are loaded above 60% of capacity, resulting in a load loss of greater than 120 MW for a double-circuit outage of the Jenkins-Scranton #1 and #2 69-kV circuits. The estimated project cost is $68.6m and the expected in-service date is Nov. 30, 2017.

Among other things, PJM noted that in American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) transmission area, projects include converting its Hogan – Mullin 34.5-kV line to 138-kV and establish a 138-kV connection between Jones Creek and Strawton stations. That project also includes rebuilding the existing Mullin – Elwood 34.5-kV line to increase capacity to address sub-transmission overloads. In the process of the rebuild, PJM added, the Mullin – Elwood 34.5-kV would terminate into the Strawton station instead of the Mullin station and the Mullin station would be retired.

The estimated cost is $56m and the required in-service date is June 1, 2018.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3160 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.