PJM Interconnection and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) have partnered to help New Jersey advance its ambitious offshore wind goals through an existing but never-before-used provision of PJM’s transmission planning process.
It is the first time a jurisdiction within the PJM footprint has requested that PJM initiate the State Agreement Approach included in the PJM Operating Agreement. The State Agreement Approach provides a path for states to contract for the transmission facilities required to advance their specific energy goals and objectives.
After extensive consultation with the Organization of PJM States, PJM added the State Agreement Approach to its Operating Agreement seven years ago in implementing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Order 1000. In that order, FERC required regional grid operators to “provide for the consideration of transmission needs driven by public policy requirements in the regional transmission planning processes.”
“This collaboration represents PJM’s continued commitment to helping our states advance their public policy objectives,” says Manu Asthana, president and CEO of PJM. “We are pleased to be able to help New Jersey, in concert with the legislature’s Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, advance its Energy Master Plan and its Offshore Wind Strategic Plan objective.”
The commencement of the State Agreement Approach includes New Jersey utilizing the competitive solicitation process in PJM’s existing planning framework to explore options for the development of reliable and cost-effective transmission solutions to help bring offshore wind energy to consumers. Transmission component options include grid-to-onshore substations, onshore substations to offshore collector farms and an offshore transmission “backbone.”
The State Agreement Approach enables a state or group of states to propose a state-initiated project to assist in realizing state public policy requirements as long as the state (or states) agrees to pay all costs of the state-selected buildout included in the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP). Most RTEP projects have been driven by reliability or market efficiency criteria.
Following the request from the NJBPU, PJM will include New Jersey’s needs for offshore-wind-related transmission improvements in a competitive proposal window set to open in the first quarter of 2021. Transmission developers may submit proposals to address New Jersey’s goal of facilitating the infrastructure necessary to deliver a target of up to 7,500 MW of offshore wind to consumers over the next 15 years.
The project proposals would be evaluated by PJM in concert with the NJBPU, with the state retaining the right to elect whether to move forward with any specific project proposal.