- PPL Electric Utilities is in preliminary planning for a 725-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line from western Pennsylvania to New York and New Jersey and south to Maryland, which it hopes to start in 2017 and complete between 2023 and 2025 at a cost of $4 billion to $6 billion.
- The line is expected to benefit customers in all four states, including those outside PPL territory, and lower the wholesale electricity price in eastern Pennsylvania and the Atlantic Coast states by making lower-cost power from western Pennsylvania accessible.
- PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, is expected to approve the project because it will boost electricity delivery reliability and reduce the potential for rolling blackouts like those that were threatened during last winter’s severe cold when available natural gas supplies were constrained and increased demand for electricity created power shortages.
Power shortages that like those during last winter’s cold snap that drove natural gas and electricity prices up could be reduced by the proposed line, according to PPL. The new line could also deliver electricity generated at new integrated gasification and combined cycle (IGCC) plants being built in Pennsylvania to take advantage of low-cost Marcellus Shale natural gas supplies.
The jointly owned PPL-PSEG 150-mile, 500-kilovolt Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line linking Pennsylvania and New Jersey's Essex County, which will cost $1.42 billion, is expected to be complete in June 2015, but does not resolve the reliability and supply challenges that would be met by the proposed 725-mile PPL line.
The new line is not part of the just-announced creation of Talen Energy Corp. from the merger of PPL Corp. and Riverstone Holdings LLC. The new company will have a 15,320 megawatt generation capacity and serve Pennsylvania, Montana, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Massachusetts.