FERC Filing Advances N.J. Offshore Wind Initiative

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PJM and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities filed a first-of-its-kind joint agreement before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 27 outlining how New Jersey will put PJM’s competitive planning process to work in pursuit of its ambitious offshore wind goals.

The agreement (PDF) details the contractual commitments and responsibilities of the NJBPU and PJM regarding the competitive selection of transmission solutions to enable New Jersey’s goal of delivering 7,500 MW of offshore wind generation to its residents by 2035. The filing advances the process from a study agreement FERC approved last year. The agreement has been discussed with PJM stakeholders on several occasions, including most recently at the MC webinar held Jan. 24.

PJM is asking FERC to issue an order no later than April 15.

“We are excited to take another step with New Jersey in the first-ever implementation of the State Agreement Approach,” said Manu Asthana, President and CEO of PJM Interconnection. “PJM’s proven competitive process will allow the Board of Public Utilities to select an optimized, comprehensive solution that maintains electric reliability while advancing the state’s energy policy goals.” 

This partnership with New Jersey reflects PJM’s commitment to enabling state decarbonization policies while also planning for the grid of the future.

“Providing a framework for implementing the State Agreement Approach is a critical next step on the pathway for efficient offshore wind interconnection between the approved wind farms and the onshore grid,” NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said in a news release issued Thursday.

PJM is in the process of evaluating 80 proposals submitted in a competitive solicitation window that ran from April 15 to Sept. 17, 2021.

PJM anticipates recommending to New Jersey by May the most cost-effective and efficient transmission solutions. The NJBPU expects to decide whether to sponsor selected transmission projects by September.

Each proposal offers solutions to deliver offshore wind generation to the existing bulk electric grid.

Developers were asked to propose one or more of the following:

  • Upgrades to the existing grid to facilitate the offshore wind energy injections
  • Extension of the onshore transmission grid closer to offshore wind locations
  • Optimal landfall approaches to reduce environmental impacts, and any necessary offshore substations
  • Interconnections between offshore substations, sometimes called a transmission “backbone,” to provide benefits of a networked offshore grid

Typically, PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) includes projects driven by reliability or market-efficiency criteria. The State Agreement Approach (SAA) provides an avenue to incorporate public policy goals into the process.

New Jersey is the first state to make use of the SAA, which enables a state, or group of states, to propose a project to assist in realizing public policy requirements as long as the state (or states) agrees to pay all costs of any state-selected buildout included in the RTEP. Those costs would be recovered from customers in those states.