PJM Shares Shortlist of Window 3 Projects

Proposals Aid PJM in Holistically Planning a Reliable, Cost-Efficient Grid

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PJM on Tuesday publicly reviewed a shortlist of projects under consideration to solve regional transmission system needs identified in planning Window 3.

Window 3, open Feb. 24 to May 31 of this year, solicited competitive proposals to address significant impacts to the grid expected in the near future from new electricity demand combined with the retirement of fossil fuel generators. Factors being considered include: approximately 7,500 MW of new data centers to be sited in Virginia and Maryland as well as widespread effects from the recent deactivation of more than 11,000 MW of generation across the PJM footprint of 13 states and Washington, D.C.

At the Oct. 3 meeting of the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee (TEAC), Sami Abdulsalam, Sr. Manager – Transmission Planning, shared a summary of the PJM reliability evaluations conducted on the 2022 Window 3 proposals and walked through a shortlist of development scenarios from which a set of proposals will be selected by PJM and shared with its stakeholders at the Oct. 31 TEAC meeting.

As part of its competitive planning process, PJM regularly administers “windows,” or a set period of time for transmission developers to offer solutions to a set of transmission reliability needs published by PJM. These needs are based on standards established by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and future “violations” of these standards, caused by additional electricity demand in an area or loss of generation due to retirements, are examples of the main drivers for planned transmission expansion.

Because the final package of transmission solutions has not yet been selected, PJM has not yet provided a final cost estimate. Regional transmission solutions benefit all customers in the PJM footprint, and costs are allocated based on this benefit, as directed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Project selections are expected to be presented Oct. 31 at the next regular meeting of the TEAC, with a recommendation set to go before the Board of Managers in December.

In all, 72 proposals were received from 10 entities in PJM’s competitive planning process, six of which are incumbent transmission owners. Twenty-two of the proposals were upgrades to existing infrastructure. The remaining 50 represented greenfield, or new build, projects.

Solutions will be judged on several criteria, including:

  • Performance – the ability to meet the identified system needs
  • Scalability – robust design able to meet future needs
  • Impact –  utilizing existing rights-of-way where possible
  • Cost – validated by third-party benchmarking metrics

Planning the System

PJM is responsible for planning for the operation of more than 88,000 miles of transmission lines across 368,906 square miles of territory. This includes more than 1,400 electric generators.

PJM works in partnership with transmission owners to ensure it can anticipate future needs and identify robust solutions.

Transmission owners focus on local issues and benefits, like connecting new customers and meeting local regulations. Solutions to meet these needs usually have a very localized benefit and are identified as supplemental projects.

PJM concentrates on regional needs and benefits. Its transmission analysis is guided by national and regional standards as well as criteria developed by PJM to meet regional market design.

Using a competitive window encourages solutions from a variety of sources and gives PJM the opportunity to review and assess creative solutions – for example, by combining parts of different proposals.

Regional solutions are identified as baseline projects and approved by the PJM Board of Managers.