A new report released Tuesday, “The Benefits of the PJM Transmission System,” explores the value of new and existing transmission equipment, lines and other assets.
The 84,200 miles of high-voltage transmission throughout the PJM system provide benefits that go beyond simply delivering power, according to the report. Among them:
- Ensuring reliability – Transmission helps maintain reliability across the PJM footprint, and between regions, during periods of extreme weather and equipment failures.
- Keeping costs low – Transmission enhancements in PJM are expected to reduce costs to customers by more than $280 million per year by alleviating congestion, or transmission constraints that require the dispatch of more expensive power.
- Supporting public policy – Robust transmission continues to enable a generation shift from coal to natural gas-fired and utility-scale, renewable-powered generation, helping reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent over the past 10 years.
Today, transmission is constructed and improved for different reasons than 10 years ago. Instead of load growth, development is driven by factors including shifting generation resources from coal to gas and renewables; repair and replacement of aging infrastructure; enabling public policy goals; and mitigating congestion to ensure the flow of lower-cost energy.
Transmission has played a critical role in allowing these changes to occur without compromising reliability, the report notes.
Enabling New Technologies
A robust transmission system allows new technologies, like wind and solar, to find sites for facilities and operate them reliably. New transmission assets permit older generators to retire without causing transmission disruptions. New generation, powered by natural gas and renewable fuels, relies on PJM’s transmission assets to sell and move reliable, economic power into the markets.
Recent studies indicate that the need for sophisticated, integrated transmission assets will grow quickly over the next decade. As the need for new infrastructure grows and changes, PJM will continue to plan for the future of the grid to ensure power keeps flowing, wherever and whenever it is needed.