New Jersey utility seeks regulatory path for transmission upgrade to move offshore wind energy onshore

Image credit JCP&L

Jersey Central Power and Light is positioning itself as the conduit between offshore wind energy production and electricity customers.

The utility, owned by FirstEnergy, has submitted a proposal with New Jersey state regulators and the system operator PJM Interconnection. The Jersey Central plan outlines a comprehensive transmission system investment program to connect enough offshore wind-generated power for nearly 2.5 million homes.

The power from offshore wind farms would be delivered to JCP&L’s electric grid from new offshore transmission infrastructure built by Mid-Atlantic Offshore Development, LLC, a new transmission asset owned by Shell New Energies US, LLC and EDF Renewables North America. JCP&L would then carry the electricity to existing substations, where it will enter the grid.

“The state of New Jersey is committed to being the nation’s leader in clean energy, and we are committed to playing an important role in that, for the benefit of our customers and the residents of the Garden State,” said James V. Fakult, president of JCP&L. “By utilizing existing transmission infrastructure and rights-of-way, our plan offers a cost-effective solution that minimizes environmental and customer impacts, enhances grid resilience and was developed with the communities we serve in mind.”

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In their proposal, 100% of JCP&L’s transmission involvement would utilize existing infrastructure or rights-of-way, resulting in no greenfield development. Additionally, existing transmission lines and substations would be upgraded, enhancing reliability for New Jersey customers. JCP&L’s solution will be implemented over a period of eight years to align with the planned schedule for offshore wind procurements.

The New Jersey Energy Master Plan seeks the goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.

Several utilities, in addition to Jersey Central, are moving on plans to connect into potential offshore wind energy development along the coast. PSEG signed a long-term lease on a port site for a future offshore wind manufacturing hub, while Rise Light & Power acquired a retired coal-fired plant as the future site of an interconnector.

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