PJM board authorizes $4.6 billion in power grid changes

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The PJM Interconnection Board has approved $4.6 billion in additions and upgrades to the high-voltage electric transmission grid that serves 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The plan includes a $1.2 billion project in northern New Jersey to address short circuit and thermal problems in that area.

"With more than 20,000 megawatts of generation retiring in the PJM region and new gas plants being built in various locations to replace them, it's essential for the transmission system to keep pace," said PJM President and CEO Terry Boston.  "The good news is that we continue to identify and approve projects needed to make the grid more reliable and resilient."

More than $3 billion of the changes to the system are upgrades to connect new generating facilities.

Baseline reliability projects with a total estimated cost of $1.5 billion were identified in 15 different utility territories.  The projects include building a new 500-kV line within an existing right-of-way in the Dominion region, new substations in several regions to reinforce lower voltage systems, as well as additional upgrades to improve the reliability of the grid.

In addition, due to the combined effects of other planned transmission upgrades, adjustments in annual load forecasts, generation retirements and other factors, some previously approved transmission projects are no longer needed and have been cancelled.  Among the projects being removed from PJM's transmission plan, is the Toronto-Harmon 345-kV line in FirstEnergy's American Transmission System Inc.'s territory.   

Since the PJM Regional Transmission Expansion Planning process began in 2000, the PJM Board has approved a net $28.9 billion in transmission investment.

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