PJM Interconnection staff on Tuesday recommended about $4.9 billion in transmission projects to help address reliability concerns related to new data centers and power plant retirements in its footprint, according to a regional transmission expansion plan presentation.
Under the recommendations, Dominion Energy would build transmission projects totaling about $2.5 billion, Exelon’s Potomac Electric Power would build projects totaling about $653 million and Public Service Electric & Gas would build a $447 million project. FirstEnergy, LS Power, NextEra and Transource would build other parts of the recommended plan.
PJM earlier this year launched “planning window 3” seeking transmission proposals to meet reliability needs, which are driven by a 7,500 MW increase in demand due to new data centers in Virginia and Maryland and the retirement of roughly 11,000 MW across PJM’s footprint in 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states and Washington, D.C., the grid operator said Tuesday.
The proposed plan meets current needs but will also provide long-term benefits, including making it easier for new generating resources to connect to the grid, Ken Seiler, PJM’s senior vice president for planning, told the grid operator’s Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee.
“It’s well-documented that there’s going to be a lot more transmission required as we go through the energy transition, and this is an area that’s a prime example of that,” Seiler said. “We’re going to need a number of projects to meet those needs.”
PJM said it selected projects based on four main criteria: effectiveness to meet system needs through 2028; the ability to expand the projects to meet needs beyond 2028; using existing rights of way, where possible; and, confidence in the projects’ estimated costs.
In its solicitation, PJM received 72 proposals from 10 entities, including six incumbent transmission owners.
The proposal is set to be reviewed by the committee again at a Dec. 5 meeting before going to PJM’s board.