Transmission Study Lays Foundation for Regional Offshore Wind Planning

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PJM has published the Phase 1 results of its Offshore Wind Transmission Study, a collaborative effort with state agencies to identify transmission solutions across the PJM footprint to deliver the PJM coastal states’ anticipated offshore wind generation. The study also incorporates the renewable portfolio standards of all PJM states.

While the coastal states served by PJM each have their own offshore wind goals and policies, synchronized planning among states could present a more efficient, economic path to achieving these objectives than each state working alone, according to the report (PDF).

PJM has committed, through its five-year strategic plan and the creation of its new State Policy Solutions Team, to dedicate expertise to facilitate states’ decarbonization policy goals. This study is one of multiple efforts on that front.

Coordinating with agencies in the PJM states on the Atlantic coast – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia – the study analyzed five scenarios to provide a high-level reliability assessment and resulting cost estimates of how envisioned offshore wind generation and current state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) targets would impact the onshore transmission system.

Current offshore wind policy targets among the PJM states total 14,268 MW. The scenarios included sensitivities for injection points and capacity totals, ranging from 6,416 MW to 17,016 MW of offshore wind injection under one short-term scenario, modeled out to 2027, and four long-term scenarios, modeled out to 2035.

The cost estimates to upgrade the existing onshore transmission system ranged from $627.34 million in the short-term analysis to $2.16 billion to $3.21 billion for the long-term studies. The results are not indicative of cost allocation, and the study is purely advisory.

Consideration of new transmission build and offshore transmission facilities may be incorporated in a later study phase.

The study had its genesis in a December 2019 letter from the Organization of PJM States urging close interaction between PJM and the states regarding the integration of renewable resources.

That sparked the formation of the Offshore Transmission Study Group. In addition to analyzing offshore wind impacts, the group decided to incorporate the effect of RPS targets to glean a more holistic view.

Ten states within the PJM region and the District of Columbia have mandatory RPS targets. Because the modeling of renewable resources went beyond offshore wind, some scenarios include transmission upgrades for zones not in proximity to offshore wind injection locations.