PJM Adds Over 15,000 MW to Grid, Load Relief Approved
The Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland (PJM) Independent System Operator
(ISO) has received approval for transmission facilities to interconnect
more than 40 new power generating stations to the grid. In a meeting last
week, PJM's board of managers approved the remaining elements of what is
the first coordinated regional transmission expansion under the PJM ISO
The proposed new power projects include more than 15,000 MW of mostly
natural gas-fired generation capacity that will be added to the region's
grid over the next five years, servicing all or parts of Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The expansion should give the region's customers a comfortable reserve
"The projected demand for this year was 51,160 MW and our all time
peak which occurred last year was 51,700 MW," said PJM's spokeswoman
Melissa Josef. Currently, PJM has more than 58,000 MW of capacity without
adding the new projects, Josef added.
The added electricity output will help to provide reliability within
the region as well as increase the vitality of PJM's competitive markets.
Josef said the new "transmission lines including transmission upgrades
would cost an estimated $100 million."
The ISO has received requests for more than 150 power generating projects
since its inception in spring 1999. Projects are reviewed on a first-come
first-serve basis by PJM's System Planning Department. All the projects
are listed by Queue and can be viewed on the PJM web site, www.pjm.com,
under the heading generation interconnection. Queue A represents the list
of projects that were approved for addition to the grid. Projects within
Queue B, C and D are at various stages along the review process and at
time of press, included 93 additional pending generation projects, the
majority of which are natural gas fired.
PJM also is moving ahead with its FERC approved Customer Load Reduction
Pilot Program, which targets on-site generation and load management programs
in facilities such as stores, factories, hospitals and hotels during emergency
conditions. During times of peak demand and emergency conditions, PJM would
be able to take advantage of distributed generation from registered participants
as load relief. The pilot program which is currently on a trial basis,
has 35 participants with a total of 61.5 MW. About 15 MW is the largest
of the on-site generators among the participants, 200 kW is the smallest.
"While we have not had to use it this summer, we have that available
to us," said Josef. After the trial period ends on Sept. 30, the program
will be evaluated to determine if it is worth pursuing. If successful,
the program will be improved and expanded to handle potential shortfalls
in capacity next summer.
PJM Interconnection became the first operational ISO in the U.S. on
Jan. 1, 1998. PJM claims to be the largest centrally-dispatched electric
control area in North America, and the third largest in the world. It monitors,
evaluates and coordinates the operation of over 8,000 miles of high-voltage
transmission lines, and a capacity of more than 58,000 MW. It has over
190 members, and is responsible for almost 8% of the countries electric