The PJM Interconnection Board has approved nearly $2 billion in electric transmission upgrades that will maintain reliable electric power supplies in the wake of recently announced power plant retirements. The PJM region includes 60 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Since November, generation owners in PJM have announced plans to retire nearly 14,000 MW of generation between May 2012 and the end of 2015 - enough generation to produce enough power to supply Indiana's needs for a year.
The PJM Board approved more than 130 transmission upgrades related to the generation retirements. The projects range from simple equipment replacements to new substations to rebuilding existing transmission lines and building new lines. The upgrades will allow electricity to flow safely from other sources to replace the retiring generation. PJM has also announced the results of its annual capacity auction that will procure additional power supply resources including demand response and energy efficiency.
Even with the retirement of older coal-fired generators, we will have enough existing and new resources in the region to keep the lights on," said Terry Boston, PJM president and chief executive officer. "The transmission upgrades the board has approved ensure we will continue to deliver power to wherever people need it.
"Strengthening the grid through PJM's proven transmission planning process allows all resources to be used effectively including renewables, demand response and storage," Boston added.
PJM is an independent regional power grid operator. One of its major responsibilities is to identify and plan improvements to the transmission system to ensure that power supplies remain reliable. The utilities that put their electric transmission systems under PJM's control are responsible for completing the work.
On a dollar basis, more than half of the improvements are in Ohio. The proposed retirement of generators along Lake Erie will require significant transmission upgrades in Ohio, particularly around Cleveland.
With these upgrades, the PJM Board has approved the investment of $23.4 billion in transmission additions and upgrades since 2000.