PJM has published its 2022 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan Report, highlighting the transmission projects approved by the PJM Board of Managers in 2022 and the work PJM is doing to plan for the grid of the future.
PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) process identifies transmission system additions and improvements needed for reliable grid operations now and in the future for the 65 million people in the PJM footprint. PJM collaborates with members to anticipate and plan for reliability criteria violations, operational performance requirements and market efficiency constraints to ensure reliable electric service in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Baseline and Network Enhancements
PJM’s RTEP process continued to yield grid enhancements to ensure reliability and the delivery of electricity under a historic generation shift driven increasingly by public policy and fuel economics. In 2022:
- The PJM Board approved 172 new baseline projects at an estimated cost of $2.392 billion to meet fundamental system reliability criteria across the grid.
- The Board also approved the inclusion in the RTEP of 267 new network transmission projects at an estimated cost of $225 million.
The baseline transmission investment approved during 2022 continues to reflect the shifting dynamics driving transmission expansion. Aging infrastructure, increasing emphasis on grid resilience, a shifting generation mix and growing localized reliability needs are now more frequently driving new system enhancements.
Changing Capacity Mix
In 2022, PJM continued to manage an unprecedented capacity shift driven by federal and state public policy and fuel economics. This shift is characterized by:
- New wind and solar generating units driven by federal and state renewable incentives
- Generating plant deactivations
- Market impacts introduced by demand response and energy efficiency programs
Renewable resources continue to represent a significant portion of PJM’s interconnection queue. In 2022, solar-powered resources totaled nearly 108,000 MW of Capacity Interconnection Rights (CIRs), or around 43%, of the over 250,000 MW of CIRs resources in PJM’s queue. Solar generation has overtaken natural gas in PJM’s queue, tripling on a megawatt basis over the past two years. Natural gas plants totaled nearly 8,000 MW and constituted 9.3% of queued generation.
On the deactivation side, more than 36,000 MW of coal-fired generation has retired since 2011. Throughout 2022, PJM continued to receive deactivation notifications for 20 units totaling over 5,000 MW.
State Agreement Approach
In 2022, PJM continued working with the state of New Jersey on the first implementation of PJM’s State Agreement Approach, leading to the NJBPU’s selection of a transmission project that it will sponsor to achieve the stated public policy goals of injecting 7,500 MW of offshore wind into New Jersey by 2035.
Load Forecasting Improvements
PJM worked with a consultant in 2022 to review the long-term load forecast model and assist PJM with its transition to an hourly forecasting framework. Over the years, the PJM forecast has evolved to address the challenges of long-term forecasting across a geographically diverse region with demand driven by large variations in weather conditions and economic activity as well as technological changes.
PJM implemented a number of changes to the 2023 load forecast to improve model accuracy, including:
- More granular data – Switching from an annual to monthly end-use model for PJM’s residential, commercial and industrial models provides more detailed data for determining heat, cool and other (non-weather-sensitive load).
- Moving to an hourly framework – Switching to an hourly model allows PJM to better capture new technologies and peak shifting.
- Longer-range load adjustment forecasts – Higher expectations for data center loads now incorporate 15-year forecasts from impacted EDCs.
Grid of the Future Studies Continue
The increasing focus by federal and state governments on climate change, energy independence and other public policy areas continues to highlight the critical role of a reliable and resilient transmission system. Ongoing PJM initiatives continue to examine current industry trends and drivers and how they could impact PJM’s transmission planning process in order to best develop the “grid of the future.” In 2023, PJM will focus on queue enhancements as well as long-term scenario planning to better integrate the dynamic needs of the grid.
The 2022 RTEP Report highlights PJM’s continuing efforts to prepare for the grid of the future, building on and aligning with the ongoing Energy Transition in PJM analyses and offshore wind studies. Read more in the 2022 Report.