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PJM board approves $318M in transmission upgrades

The PJM Interconnection on Dec. 6 announced that its board has authorized $318 million in transmission upgrade projects and the use of a 15.8% reserve margin that will help the grid operator determine how much supply to procure in the next capacity auction.

"Today, the board has authorized a number of smaller projects, each of which is important to maintaining reliability and efficiency for people who depend on both PJM and our members," PJM President and CEO Andy Ott said in a release. The board's approval adds those projects to PJM's regional transmission expansion plan.

PJM manages power supply across 13 eastern states and the District of Columbia. Ten of the projects at issue are in the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Two are in PJM's western region, which includes American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Exelon Corp. subsidiary Commonwealth Edison Co. service territory in northern Illinois, PJM officials said in the release. One $20 million project in ComEd's service territory involves building a 138-kV line from and a fourth breaker at a substation for operation by Nov. 1, 2019. In AEP's service territory along the Kentucky-Virginia border, the board approved a $16.5 million project to build the Hazard-Wooton 161-kV line, which tends to overload during summer and winter peak conditions, according to a Nov. 2 presentation from PJM's Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee. The project is scheduled to be on line by June 1, 2021, PJM officials said in the presentation.

Several of the higher-cost projects, such as the $90.4 million rebuilding of the Warinanco-Aldene 230-kV circuit in northern New Jersey, lie in Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.'s service territory. The project helps address demand growth in the area, according to PJM's release. Another $80 million project would involve replacing existing cable to prevent overloading on a 230-kV circuit also in northern New Jersey. Both projects are expected on line by June 2018, according to PJM's presentation.

In Atlantic City Electric Co.'s service territory in southern New Jersey, the board approved a $36.4 million project to rebuild a roughly 10-mile line. The 138-kV line is slated for operation in June 2022.

In addition, PJM's board approved a 15.8% installed reserve margin for the 2021/2022 delivery year. The installed reserve margin indicates the amount of extra supply needed by PJM to meet reliability and power demand needs and helps determine the price and amount of capacity procured in PJM's next capacity auction in May 2018.