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PJM to recommend PSE&G build 500-kV line in southern New Jersey

By: Juliana Brint |

The PJM Interconnection will recommend its board approve Public Service Electric & Gas’s plan to build an 18-mile, 500-kV transmission line to address reliability concerns in a portion of southern New Jersey, grid operator staff said Monday.

PJM in April 2013 began soliciting proposals to address the needs of the transmission system and nuclear plants in an area of southern New Jersey known as Artificial Island, which is in the Delaware Bay and home to PSE&G and Exelon’s 2,365-MW Salem nuclear power plant and PSE&G’s 1,178-MW Hope Creek nuclear plants.

The action marked the first time PJM used the competitive transmission solicitation process mandated by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000. PJM has also issued competitive solicitations for market efficiency projects.

PJM received 26 proposals from eight companies in response to the solicitation. The proposals ranged from an LS Power plan to build a 5.5-mile 230-kV line and a new transformer and switchyard by mid-2017 for $116 million to $148 million to a $1.5 billion PSE&G proposal to build 93 miles of 500-kV line over more than seven years.

PJM staff has decided to recommend a 500-kV line from the Hope Creek substation on Artificial Island to the Red Lion substation across the Delaware River in New Castle County, Delaware. PJM officials said that while this solution was comparable to other projects based on such factors as cost, schedule and the ability to address the reliability concerns, the Hope Creek-Red Lion 500-kV line was superior in terms of constructability.

Dominion, FirstEnergy and PSE&G each included a 500-kV Hope Creek-Red Lion line in proposals they submitted. PJM will recommend that PSE&G build the line, PJM officials said, citing the utility’s G ability to access to existing right of way for the Delaware portion of the line because it is a party to the Lower Delaware Valley Transmission System Agreement.

PJM will recommend that the upgrades at the Hope Creek and Red Lion substations be handled by the utilities that own and operate those substations, PSE&G and Pepco Holdings respectively. PJM also will recommend the installation of a static VAR compensator (SVC) at the New Freedom substation in Camden County, New Jersey, to help regulate voltage.

The new line is expected to cost between $211 million and $257 million while the SVC is expected to cost about $80 million, PJM officials said during a Monday meeting. They did not identify an in-service date for the project, but an official said PJM hoping it can begin operations as quickly as possible.

A stakeholder at Monday’s meeting raised concerns that the US Army Corps of Engineers may not approve a river crossing for the line.

A PJM official said the grid operator recognized the challenge, but added that siting and permitting prospects were one several factors PJM staff considered when making the recommendation.

PJM staff will ask its board of managers to approve the project at its July 22 meeting. Stakeholder may submit written comments regarding the recommendation to by July 16.