The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) says it is moving forward with a novel approach to transmission planning as it endeavors to reach Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035.
PJM Interconnection LLC (PJM), a regional grid operator, has opened a 120-day solicitation window on behalf of NJBPU for qualified developers to submit potential transmission solutions that would help deliver offshore wind energy to the existing power grid. The competitive solicitation is the result of a request by NJBPU to incorporate the state’s offshore wind public policy goals into PJM’s regional transmission planning process through a novel pathway known as the State Agreement Approach.
“New Jersey is the first and only state to utilize this approach with PJM,” says Joseph L. Fiordaliso, president of NJBPU. “We are pleased to see it moving forward smoothly as we work toward Murphy’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. Through this process, we are leveraging PJM’s transmission planning expertise to ensure we achieve our offshore wind goals in an economically efficient, environmentally sensitive and timely manner.”
The solicitation process, which PJM will manage, will enable NJBPU staff to evaluate a wide array of ready-to-build transmission options that otherwise may not have been available at this stage of offshore wind development.
Specifically, the solicitation is seeking potential options for four interrelated components of an open access offshore wind transmission solution, including:
- Upgrades to the existing grid to facilitate the offshore wind energy injections
- Extension of the onshore transmission grid closer to offshore wind locations
- Optimal landfall approaches to reduce environmental impacts and any necessary offshore substations
- Interconnections between offshore substations provide benefits of a networked offshore grid
After the solicitation window closes on Aug. 13, NJBPU and PJM will evaluate all submissions to determine which, if any, combination of project proposals can meet the state’s offshore wind policy goals. The competitive solicitation process contains extensive consumer protections – such as the ability to phase-in transmission upgrades to control cost – and provides NJBPU the right to terminate the process at any time without making a selection.
More information about New Jersey’s offshore wind program can be found, here.