On Thursday at the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee meeting, PJM reaffirmed the proposed Transource Independence Energy Connection market efficiency project in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The project will remain in PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.
The recent staff analysis found a benefit/cost ratio of 1.42 which is above the 1.25 benefit/cost ratio required for market efficiency projects in PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan. The project is expected to save an estimated $866.2 million in congestion over 15 years.
In addition, PJM also found that the project will resolve several reliability issues that would otherwise pose a risk to the high-voltage transmission system in the future, including the overload in 2023 of the Peach Bottom-to-Conastone 500kV transmission line across the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.
The project, known as the 9A project in the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan, was approved by the PJM Board of Managers in 2016. It is designed to decrease congestion costs in the areas around Maryland and southeast Pennsylvania. Once a market efficiency project is approved for the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan, PJM performs an annual review in accordance with the PJM Operating Agreement.
For many years, congestion bottlenecks in the regional high-voltage transmission system have prevented the lowest cost bulk power from reaching customers in areas of Eastern PJM and have required the use of higher-cost power generators in the east to maintain reliable service.
This has increased the costs to consumers in the constrained areas, particularly in Maryland, Northern Virginia and in the District of Columbia.
As he explained the latest review of the project, Steve Herling, vice president – Planning, pointed out that PJM does not select the siting or secure the necessary state approvals for siting. Transource as the developer, is responsible for obtaining the necessary approvals from Pennsylvania and Maryland authorities regarding siting for the project.
In answer to a question from opposition to the project, Herling said that PJM can evaluate a project, based on the data available at that moment but, ultimately, the Pennsylvania and Maryland public utility commissions will decide the project’s fate.