The PJM Board of Managers in 2019 approved 80 baseline
transmission projects to bolster system reliability, according to PJM’s annual Regional Transmission Expansion
Plan Report, released Tuesday, March 3.
The RTEP report documents the critical planning work
that is one of PJM’s three core functions, along with daily operations and
running the wholesale electricity markets.
The emphasis on baseline projects reflects a shift in
the drivers shaping the need for transmission enhancement and expansion through
study year 2024. Flat load growth in the overall system, energy efficiency,
generation shifts and aging infrastructure, among other factors, continue to move
transmission need away from large-scale, cross-system backbone projects.
Instead, transmission investment growth is focused on
projects driven by transmission owner criteria, market efficiency congestion,
generator deactivation and localized reliability criteria needs.
The 80 baseline transmission projects are estimated to
cost $1.27 billion. In 2019, the Board also authorized 95 new network
transmission projects at a cost of approximately $100 million.
Report Puts 2019 Planning in Perspective
PJM publishes the RTEP report annually to convey
planning study results from throughout the year, provide context for these
studies and explain the rationale behind transmission system needs.
RTEP studies test the transmission system
against the mandatory national standards of the North American Electric
Reliability Corporation, as well as PJM regional standards. The studies look from
one to 15 years into the future to identify transmission overloads, voltage
limitations and other potential problems stemming from violations of
reliability standards and other factors.
Proposals for new generators or transmission
resources to connect to the grid also are evaluated through PJM’s planning
process, as are proposed generation retirements. Analyses assess their impact
to the grid and the potential need for additional transmission enhancements.
Load Forecast Trends
Load forecasts from the past five years reflect
broader trends in the U.S. economy and PJM model refinements to capture evolution
in the way customers use electricity. These include more efficient
manufacturing equipment and home appliances, and distributed energy resources
such as roof-top solar installations. Countering this overall trend toward
slower load growth are pockets of significant load growth related to data-center
expansion and natural gas processing plants (fracking).
Renewable Power Continues to Grow
Correspondingly, PJM’s interconnection queue process
continues to see renewable-powered generation growth.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, wind-powered generators represented
queued requests for capacity interconnection rights (CIRs) totaling 6,240 MW. Those
CIRs – which are necessary to sell electricity into the PJM markets – correspond
to nameplate capacity of 31,206 MW.
Similarly, queued, solar-powered generator requests
for CIRs totaled 35,759 MW, corresponding to nameplate capacity of 61,488 MW.
Proposal Window Yields 15 Proposals
In the proposal window open July 3 to Sept. 6, 2019,
PJM received 15 proposals from four entities.
More than 60,000 MW of interconnection requests were
actively under study during 2019. PJM analyzed and issued reports for 550
feasibility studies and 379 system impact studies.
Also in 2019, PJM received 36 deactivation
notifications, representing 7,650 MW. This included 12 coal unit deactivations
totaling 2,750 MW. All transmission expansion planning was successfully completed
with the new deactivations, along with the withdrawal of a significant number
of previously submitted deactivations.
A Decade of Transmission Expansion
Since the first proposal window opened in 1999, PJM
markets have attracted generation proposals totaling over 606,000 MW of
nameplate capacity across all fuel types.
In that time, the PJM Board has approved transmission
system enhancements totaling over $37 billion.
Of this, $30.9
billion represents baseline projects. Another $6.4 billion represents network
facilities to enable nearly 90,000 MW of new generation to interconnect
Original source: PJM