The PJM Interconnection has petitioned the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to designate two electrical paths as “national interest” electric transmission corridors to address transmission needs in the Mid-Atlantic region. PJM is the first regional transmission organization to invoke new authority granted by Congress to DOE under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. PJM oversees electricity delivery to 51 million people in Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The designation would be aimed at resolving transmission constraints that affect reliability and raise electricity costs in several cities within PJM. PJM hopes the designations will stimulate proposals to resolve significant transmission constraints and reduce congestion, which will result in lower electricity costs and improved efficiencies. PJM will evaluate specific proposals, including those recently announced by AEP and Allegheny Power and address needs resulting from continuing growth in electricity demand, closing of local generating plants, limited construction of new generating facilities and aging transmission infrastructure.
The proposed designation would also assist development of renewable resources such as wind power in addition to bringing other new and existing resources to a broader market. PJM’s need for the national corridors is based on its Regional Transmission Expansion Planning process as well as the findings of the DOE in its 2002 National Grid Bottleneck Study. In developing the plan, PJM analyzes the existing transmission system, expected generation retirements and additions, growth in usage and the system’s ability to meet reliability standards. – Steve Blankinship