Suzanne Glatz, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Interregional Planning – Planning, joined offshore wind industry leaders June 23 for a virtual panel hosted by NJ Spotlight to talk about transmission solutions to connect offshore wind generation to the onshore grid.
In particular, Glatz spoke to an initiative in which PJM is using its expertise to help the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) identify efficient, cost-effective transmission projects that could advance that state’s goal of delivering 7,500 MW of offshore wind generation to its residents by 2035.
To this end, PJM and the NJBPU are making novel use of an existing provision in the Operating Agreement called the State Agreement Approach (SAA).
The SAA enables a state or group of states to propose a project that could potentially realize public policy requirements as long as the state (or states) agrees to pay all costs of the selected build-out, which would be included in PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.
Eighty proposals were submitted during the proposal window, which closed Sept. 17, 2021. PJM intends to review solutions this summer. New Jersey, which has the final say on which project or combination of projects is chosen, is expected to make a decision by the end of 2022.
The proposals address:
- Upgrading the existing grid
- Extending the onshore electrical grid closer to offshore wind locations
- Identifying points of interconnection and approaches to minimize environmental impacts
- Building a networked offshore grid
Opening remarks were delivered by Kris Ohleth, Executive Director, Special Initiative on Offshore Wind.
Glatz was joined on the panel by:
- Janice Fuller, President, Mid-Atlantic, Anbaric
- Doug O’Malley, State Director, Environment New Jersey
- Madeline Urbish, Head of Government Affairs and Policy, New Jersey, Ørsted
The SAA is a way to leverage PJM’s interconnection and regional planning processes to create a comprehensive, coordinated plan for a whole new class of transmission, which will include HVDC lines buried under the ocean floor to connect the power of offshore wind resources, Glatz said.
“This allows a long-term view of the planning process,” she said, which will optimize the first generation of offshore resources and set the stage for those to come.
PJM is studying the proposals through the lens of its top priority: maintaining a reliable grid, while the NJBPU also is reviewing the projects with additional concerns in mind, like the economy and jobs.
“Planning transmission for offshore generation presents unique challenges,” Glatz said, “including where it may come ashore. Some spots along the coast, for example, don’t have the capability of accepting the necessary level of capacity onto the system.”
Whatever is chosen is bound to yield long-term benefits for the grid, she said. “Transmission tends to be a very long life asset. Any investment in transmission has the potential to serve the reliability of the grid not only for offshore wind, but for interconnecting any other resource or meeting the needs of load, which can also include the increase of electrification,” Glatz said. “We’re really happy we can bring PJM’s expertise to this process and collaborate with New Jersey.”