Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) has endorsed construction of several new 500-kV transmission lines that will significantly improve the long-term reliability of the electric system that serves New Jersey customers.

The utility supports construction of three additional 500-kV lines to reinforce transmission facilities on existing rights of way:

  • An 80-mile line from Camden County (New Freedom) north to Middlesex County (Deans)
  • A 30-mile line from Somerset County (Branchburg) to Essex County (Roseland)
  • A 135-mile line from Luzerne County, PA to Essex County (Roseland).

"These new transmission lines are essential for New Jersey to meet the growing demand for electricity over the long term," said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G. "PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization, has already identified a number of areas in which additional transmission facilities are needed to ensure the continued reliability of our region's electric grid and our state's economic growth. While long-term reliability is driving the need to build these lines, we also expect that they will eventually ease transmission congestion and lower electric prices for our customers."

In April, the U.S. Department of Energy designated New Jersey and surrounding areas as critical congestion areas, highlighting the need for transmission investment.

LaRossa noted that these reinforcements, which would follow existing transmission pathways, are needed in addition to initiatives already under way to reduce electric use by boosting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. For example, PSE&G recently announced plans to provide long-term financing of solar systems, as well as convert a portion of its vehicle fleet to hybrids.

New Freedom to Deans line

The new 500-kV south-north line would originate at PSE&G's New Freedom station in Winslow Township, and travel northeast to connect with PSE&G's Deans station in South Brunswick, parallel to an existing 500-kV line. The proposed circuit would run on existing rights of way and parallel to existing transmission facilities where feasible, thereby minimizing disruption to New Jersey municipalities as well as the impact on the environment. The exact route of the new line would be determined once the proposal is accepted by PJM, which is responsible for planning and operating the regional transmission system in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

This line will be discussed with PJM as one solution to move additional electricity from the southern to the central part of New Jersey. In examining several potential routes, PSE&G will work with PJM and other transmission owners to determine the best location. If PJM agrees that the project is preferred to other alternatives, the line would become part of PJM's Regional Transmission Expansion Plan, subject to approval by the organization's board of managers.

Branchburg to Roseland line

The second line would run from PSE&G's Branchburg station in Somerset County to the Roseland station in Essex County. This reinforcement would use the same right of way as an existing circuit that carries lower voltages. If this route is selected and approved by PJM, this route would also become part of the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.

Susquehanna to Roseland line

Later this month, PJM is expected to approve a third project to build a 500-kilovolt line that would run west to east from Susquehanna station in Salem Township, Pennsylvania, to PSE&G's Roseland, New Jersey, station. The project would also include construction of a new switching station on utility-owned property in Morris County, and would involve another utility.

Although these new lines are still in the planning stages, PSE&G expects its portion of the cost to be about $1 billion, which would be shared by all customers in the PJM territory. The utility's 2.1 million electric customers would pay about 7.5 percent of the costs under transmission rates approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). If selected and approved by PJM, these lines would be built over five to eight years.