Powering Strong Communities

PJM Says $3 Billion Needed To Prepare Its Grid For Renewables Influx

As much as $3 billion will need to be invested in grid enhancements to accommodate a growing amount in renewable resources expected in the PJM Interconnection region, according to a new report by the regional transmission organization.

The Grid of the Future: PJM’s Regional Planning Perspective report aims to ensure that PJM’s grid maintains the reliability and operational flexibility needed to address key drivers that are changing the face of the industry.

Over the next 15 years, PJM anticipates more than 100,000 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind, offshore wind, solar power and energy storage resources will come online in the PJM region, which already has 15,000 MW of renewable resources in service.

“The grid of the future is happening now, and this paper details the road map that will help us plan the transmission system to enable the shift to renewable generation resources that are smaller, more dispersed, and more variable in output than the existing fleet,” Suzanne Glatz, director of strategic initiatives and interregional planning at PJM, said in a statement.

The PJM region includes all or part of 13 states and the District of Columbia.

In the report, PJM planners identified and examined industry trends driving grid expansion, including generation development, evolving load characteristics, emerging transmission technologies and resilience.

The resulting road map for PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), which identifies transmission system additions and improvements needed to maintain the flow of electricity in the region, encompasses four focus areas.

PJM said it would conduct transmission build-out scenarios studies this year that will build on its renewable integration and offshore wind studies and include further analysis of the potential impacts of greater transportation and building electrification.

PJM said it would continue to conduct targeted reliability studies to explore generation and transmission attributes such as reactive control, stability, system inertia and frequency control, and short-circuit impacts.

PJM said it would also continue to study and implement improvements to its RTEP process. In April, PJM’s planning committee endorsed a proposal aimed at moving generation and other projects through its planning pipeline more quickly to help clear the current backlog.

And PJM said the road map also focuses on regulatory policy impacts that will inform new reliability criteria for such eventualities as extreme events, state electrification policies and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) action on regional transmission planning.

In April, FERC directed grid operators to provide information regarding their changing system needs and plans for potential reforms.