PJM Updates TEAC on Artificial Island Preliminary Review

PJM presented preliminary recommendations regarding the scope of the Artificial Island project Dec. 15 at the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee meeting.

After further discussion around the project, PJM will give stakeholders its final recommendations at the TEAC in January, in anticipation of presenting them to the PJM board at the February board meeting.

Artificial Island is a nuclear generation and transmission complex located in southern New Jersey consisting of three units with a total generating capacity of 3,818 megawatts.

PJM first identified operational performance issues at Artificial Island during its 2012 and 2013 planning cycles. At that time, PJM identified the need to explore transmission enhancements.

After project costs estimates rose steeply, the PJM Board of Managers, at their August 2016 meeting, directed PJM staff to suspend the project and perform a comprehensive analysis to support a future course of action.

PJM had four teams considering different aspects of the project.

The protection and control team produced a technical whitepaper, which provided a detailed analytical review of individual AI solution elements. PJM evaluated critical system conditions that include operations under line outage conditions.

For example, with a recent protection information update provided by PSE&G, the most critical fault location changed from a line fault to a bus fault. PJM’s preliminary recommendation is to remove optical wire and relays from the project, given that current information indicates that the optical wire and relays are not expected to increase the speed of the protection system’s timing.

A second team looked at costs and estimates. This evaluation included expanding the water-related and land-related surveying and reviews of permits and property rights. The team investigated alternative Artificial Island connections at both Salem and Hope Creek and found that it is anticipated to be both cheaper and more efficient to connect at Hope Creek rather than Salem.

The data and operational team looked at the historical plant operational parameters and relevant data such as maintenance outages. The team examined trends for voltages and 500 kilovolt buses and the units’ real and reactive power and found that voltages did not go below a certain operating level during the review period.

PJM found if it operates the AI units at an acceptable voltage range, Artificial Island will be stable, even in the worst case maintenance scenarios. PJM is working to define the necessary voltage schedule.

 The fourth team identified and analyzed solution alternatives, including an analysis of stability with Hope Creek substation. The team looked at stressed conditions (maintenance outages) and faults and performed simulations to evaluate new configurations.

PJM briefly discussed the 2017 Reliability Transmission Expansion Process. There will be further discussion at the January TEAC. The TEAC also heard updates on deactivations, interregional planning, market efficiency and reliability.