PJM Working To Mitigate Reliability Impacts of Retiring Wagner Units

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PJM has asked Talen Energy to continue to operate two H.A. Wagner generating units in Maryland until transmission upgrades are in service in the 2028 time frame to mitigate reliability impacts their retirement would cause.

On Oct. 16, 2023, Talen notified PJM (PDF) of its intent to retire the Wagner facilities, consisting of three oil-fired units and a natural gas combustion turbine unit, as of June 1, 2025, citing environmental permitting and economic reasons. The units, located outside of Baltimore in Anne Arundel County, have a combined capacity of 844 MW.

After conducting its standard generator deactivation studies, PJM’s Jan. 4 response (PDF) informed Talen that the deactivation of units 3 and 4 would adversely affect the reliability of the system absent transmission upgrades. These required upgrades were part of the solution identified to address reliability violations following the announced retirement (PDF) of the adjacent 1,295 MW Brandon Shores facility, also owned by Talen and also requested to deactivate on June 1, 2025.

The Wagner retirements will not necessitate additional upgrades. These issues are being addressed by a set of proposed projects (PDF) that will expand the regional transmission system to accommodate electricity demand growth, generator retirements and future capacity needs.

PJM’s analysis of the Wagner retirement, presented at the Jan. 9 meeting of the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee, identified voltage and thermal violations (PPT) impacting multiple transmission owner areas.

Therefore, PJM requested that Talen continue to operate Wagner units 3 and 4 under a Reliability Must Run (RMR) arrangement until the planned upgrades are completed in the 2028 time frame. In accordance with the PJM Tariff, Talen is requested to respond in 30 days.

While PJM cannot compel a unit to remain in service, in unique circumstances such as this, PJM can formally request that the unit owner continue operating the unit to support reliability. This process, detailed in Part V of the PJM Open Access Transmission Tariff, offers a deactivating unit the opportunity to remain in service and recover its operating costs until all necessary transmission upgrades are in place.

Over the past decade, PJM’s deactivation study process has successfully allowed over 40,000 MW of generation to retire reliably.

Find out more about PJM’s generation deactivation process from our fact sheet or the database on our Generation Deactivations page.