PJM: Flatter load growth, generation changes shift transmission need away from large-scale backbone projects

PJM Interconnection, in its recently published 2016 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) Report, said that flatter load growth and generation shifts driven by fuel economics in particular, have shifted transmission need away from large-scale backbone projects needed by 2021 or beyond.

PJM’s most recent 2017 load forecast report projects summer peak load growth for the RTO to average 0.2% per year over the next 10 years, the report said, noting that PJM’s 2013 load forecast report projected summer peak load growth for the RTO to average 1.3% per year over the next 10 years.

The report said that PJM’s 177,000 MW of reliability pricing model (RPM)-eligible, existing installed capacity reflects a fuel mix comprised of 36% natural gas, 34% coal, and 19% nuclear, with hydro, wind, solar, oil and waste fuels comprising the remaining 11%. PJM expects that its capacity fuel mix will continue to shift toward natural gas, the report said.

PJM on March 7 said that the report describes transmission study input data, processes and results, as well as PJM board-approved transmission upgrades and process changes during the previous year.

The report noted that the PJM board last year approved 50 new baseline projects, totaling $712m, as well as 284 new network transmission projects, totaling $985m. The report added that those cost estimates were offset by existing project cost changes, as well as by the removal of previously approved RTEP projects: 29 baseline projects totaling $170m, and 106 network projects totaling $911m, caused by the withdrawal of 210 interconnection requests that totaled 23,482 MW.

The report noted that 17 of the baseline reliability and market efficiency projects approved by the PJM board in 2016 were PJM recommendations based on RTEP window proposals, while the other 32 approved baseline projects solve reliability criteria violations requiring “Immediate Need” system solutions.

“Immediate Need” system enhancements can also be driven by operational performance, the report said, noting that analyses in 2016 identified the need for 48 such projects, including:

  • Expanding the Lackawanna 500-kV substation to add a third bay with three circuit breakers; the driver is baseline deliverability; the transmission owner is PPL (NYSE:PPL); and the required in-service date is Jan. 31, 2019
  • Upgrading the Powerton 345-kV substation; the driver is operational performance; the transmission owner is Exelon’s (NYSE:EXC) Commonwealth Edison, or ComEd; and the required in-service date is June 1, 2018
  • Building the new Pinewood 115-kV switching station; the driver is “TO criteria violation;” the transmission owner is Dominion (NYSE:D); and the required in-service date is June 1

Discussing market efficiency projects, the report noted that during the first half of 2016, PJM continued to evaluate two groups of projects solicited through the 2014/2015 RTEP Long-Term RTEP Proposal Window.

PJM recommended three additional market efficiency projects, in addition to the 11 approved in 2015, the report said, noting that the projects address energy market and capacity market congestion, and have an estimated cost of about $341m. The projects are expected to mitigate at least $922m in energy market congestion over the next 15 years, and provide RPM capacity load payment savings totaling $118m, the report said.

Project 9A, for instance, was approved by the PJM board last August, and includes such components as:

  • The West Line – about 27 miles of new double-circuit, 230-kV alternating current, overhead transmission line, configured in a six-wired arrangement between the existing Ringgold substation to a new Rice substation that will into the existing Conemaugh-Hunterstown 500-kV line, assigned to Transource
  • The Ringgold substation will be expanded to accommodate the new 230-kV circuits with one new 230-kV breaker, assigned to Allegheny Power (APS)
  • The new Rice substation will include two 900 MVA, 500/230-kV transformers, two 245-kV breakers in a single bus double breaker configuration, and four 500-kV breakers in a ring bus configuration, assigned to Transource
  • The East Line – about 14.5 miles of new double-circuit, 230-kV alternating current, overhead transmission line configured in a six-wired arrangement between the existing Conastone substation to a new Furnace Run substation that taps the existing Three Mile Island-Peach Bottom 500-kV line, assigned to Transource
  • The Conastone substation will be expanded to accommodate the new double-circuit 230-kV lines and two new 230-kV breakers, assigned to Exelon’s BGE

The project is estimated to cost about $320.2m, and has a required in-service date by June 1, 2020, the report added.

The report also noted that PJM opened, for instance, the 2016 RTEP Proposal Window No. 2 last summer, seeking solutions to numerous PJM reliability criteria violations identified as part of Baseline N-1 (thermal and voltage), generation deliverability, common node outage, N-1-1 (thermal and voltage), and load deliverability (thermal and voltage) tests on a 2021 study year power flow case modeling peak summer conditions.

PJM received 87 proposals from 13 entities in 12 transmission owner zones to solve the identified reliability criteria violations, and last December, recommended to the PJM board a set of 11 recommendations to address 21 flowgate violations, including building the greenfield Dequine-Meadow Lake 345-kV Circuit No. 3 as a single-circuit line; the proposing entity is American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), and the cost is $29.1m.

Discussing merchant transmission, the report noted that PJM’s merchant transmission queue contained 17 projects that were active, under construction, or suspended as of Dec. 31, 2016, including the:

  • Deans (Poseidon) 500-kV project that is under construction and has a requested in-service date of May 1, 2017 (TO: Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) subsidiary Public Service Electric and Gas, or PSE&G)
  • Pierce-Beckjord 138-kV project that is suspended and had a requested in-service date of April 3, 2019 (TO: Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, or DEO&K)
  • Pumphrey 230-kV project that is under construction, with a requested in-service date of Jan. 1, 2016 (TO: BGE)

Among other things, the report discussed interregional studies, noting that PJM currently has interregional planning arrangements with ISO New England (ISO-NE), Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), the New York ISO (NYISO), Midcontinent ISO (MISO), North Carolina Transmission Planning Collaborative, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and Southeastern Regional Transmission Planning.

Going forward, regional FERC Order 1000 planning processes with the Carolinas and TVA will be conducted under the Southeastern Regional Transmission Planning (SERTP) process embodied in the tariff provisions of PJM and the SERTP sponsors subject to FERC jurisdiction, which include Duke Energy Progress, TVA, and Southern Company (NYSE:SO). The report added that PJM also actively participates in the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC).

Last year, PJM, NYISO, and ISO-NE, for instance, continued to implement interregional processes consistent with Order 1000 interregional compliance filings, and will continue to develop and exchange databases, as well as coordinate review of operational coordination issues; individual regional transmission projects; queued generation and merchant transmission interconnection queues, long-term firm transmission service requests in each region; as well as transmission needs and solutions identified by systems beyond the three RTOs, the report said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3054 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.