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PJM investing billions to brace for Mother Nature Read more: PJM investing billions to brace for Mother Nature

By: Barbara Vergetis Lundin |

Massive shifts in the fuels used to generate electricity are requiring major investments for electric transmission grid improvements, a recent study by PJM Interconnection reveals. In 2012, PJM, which plans improvements to the regional power grid, authorized more than 750 electric transmission improvement projects totaling more than $5 billion.

The PJM Interconnection Board of Managers recently authorized $1.2 billion in upgrades and improvements to the high-voltage electric transmission system that serves the Mid-Atlantic and all or parts of other states between the Mid-Atlantic and Chicago. The upgrades and improvements were identified as part of PJM’s continuous regional planning process.

The changes call for upgrades and improvements to transformers, substations and other transmission facilities throughout the region served by PJM.

“PJM and our members know firsthand that a strong, resilient grid is important to meet the challenging impacts of Mother Nature, such as Super Storm Sandy last year, and the ongoing, dramatic shift of generation from coal to natural gas that’s resulted in the closure of many older coal plants,” said Terry Boston, PJM president and CEO. “PJM’s transmission improvement plan and these new upgrades address these challenges.”

With these changes, the PJM regional transmission plan includes more than $24.2 billion of transmission additions and upgrades since the first plan was approved by the board in 2000.

Meanwhile, PJM continues to study the effects of existing wind power on the grid and to plan transmission changes to handle it.