Sign of the (slow) times: PJM seeks to cancel planned transmission expansion

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By: SGN Staff

Quick Take: Not long ago people were screaming for more transmission lines to the mid-Atlantic to import more power to keep up with demand. Then came the recession and demand sagged. At the same time, demand response appeared as a valid, verifiable resource that could replace supply. Result – PJM is rescinding two lines, as described below. - By Jesse Berst

 

U.S. grid operator PJM Interconnection said its staff will recommend dropping the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) and the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) from its regional transmission projects.

 

PJM's planning process looks 15 years ahead to identify transmission upgrades needed to maintain stable power systems.

 

Quoted in a Reuters news article, PJM said "Our updated analysis no longer shows a need for the lines to maintain grid stability." A sluggish economy has slowed the growth of energy demand and PJM's latest capacity auction netted an additional 4,900 megawatts of new generation and 14,833 megawatts of demand response resources.

 

Those gains will more than offset the closures of roughly 16,000 megawatts of primarily coal-fired plants which will be retired over the next few years because of environmental regulations.

 

The proposed 275-mile PATH line, which would have extended from West Virginia to Maryland, was proposed for approximately $1.8 billion about five years ago. The 230-mile MAPP line from Virginia to New Jersey was proposed about four years ago at a cost of $1.4 billion, but PJM later scaled the project down.

 

Both projects had been on hold and American Electric Power and FirstEnergy, which had proposed the PATH project, asked to pull their application after PJM suspended it.

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