PJM Receives Strong Response in Effort To Aid NJ’s Offshore Wind Goals

3094

PJM has received 80 proposals that address onshore and offshore needs that would facilitate New Jersey’s goal of delivering 7,500 MW of offshore wind generation by 2035.

The proposals were submitted under a provision of PJM’s transmission planning process called the State Agreement Approach, which provides an avenue to incorporate public policy goals into PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP). Typically, RTEP projects are driven by reliability or market-efficiency criteria.

Aaron Berner, Senior Manager – Transmission Planning, presented the results of the competitive solicitation process at the Oct. 5 meeting of the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee (TEAC). The window for submissions was open April 15 to Sept. 17.

Both incumbents (existing Transmission Owners) and non-incumbents (merchant developers) submitted proposals, Berner said, noting that 57 include voluntary commitments to cap costs. Some involve upgrades to existing facilities; others proposed greenfield (completely new) development.

The submissions offer combinations of individual proposals, expanding the number of solutions beyond the number of proposals received, he said.

The proposals fall into four categories:

  • Option 1a: onshore upgrades on existing facilities (45 proposals)
  • Option 1b: onshore new transmission connection facilities (22 proposals)
  • Option 2: offshore new transmission connection facilities (26 proposals)
  • Option 3: offshore network (eight proposals)

“These are just the combinations as supplied by the entities,” Berner said. There may be an opportunity as well for PJM, in concert with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), to look at various proposals and determine that some of them might be paired up differently.”

Proposal evaluations are ongoing, and more details are expected to be available for the November TEAC meeting.

New Jersey is the first state to make use of PJM’s State Agreement Approach provision, a provision of PJM’s Open Access Transmission Tariff. The State Agreement Approach was created as a means to develop needed transmission projects to implement their policy goals, in this case the development of a reliable, cost-effective offshore wind transmission solution.

The State Agreement Approach 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.

PJM and the NJBPU announced the effort last November, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted the study agreement Feb. 16.

The project proposals will be evaluated by PJM and the NJBPU, with the state retaining the right to elect whether to move forward with any projects. According to a guidance document issued by the NJBPU, it is targeting the second half of 2022 for that decision.