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Bids Sought for Offshore Wind Transmission Solutions

PJM opens 120-day application window for potential offshore wind transmission solutions

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is moving forward with a novel approach to transmission planning as it endeavors to reach Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035. Regional grid operator PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM) opened a 120-day solicitation window on behalf of BPU for qualified developers to submit potential transmission solutions that would help deliver offshore wind energy to the existing power grid. The competitive solicitation is the result of a request by BPU to incorporate the State’s offshore wind public policy goals into PJM’s regional transmission planning process through a novel pathway known as the State Agreement Approach.

“New Jersey is the first and only state to utilize this approach with PJM, and we are pleased to see it moving forward smoothly as we work toward Governor Murphy’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Through this process, we are leveraging PJM’s transmission planning expertise to ensure we achieve our offshore wind goals in an economically efficient, environmentally sensitive, and timely manner. This once-in-a-generation opportunity will establish New Jersey as the epicenter of a burgeoning new industry that can provide tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, reduced emissions, and over a billion dollars in economic benefits when we need it most.”

“We are pleased to see PJM’s competitive process employed to solicit innovative transmission solutions that can help advance New Jersey’s public policy objectives reliably, efficiently and economically,” said PJM President and CEO Manu Asthana.

The solicitation process, which PJM will manage, will enable BPU staff to evaluate a wide array of ready-to-build transmission options that otherwise may not have been available at this stage of offshore wind development. Specifically, the solicitation is seeking potential options for four interrelated components of an open access offshore wind transmission solution, including:

  1. upgrades to the existing grid to facilitate the offshore wind energy injections;
  2. extension of the onshore transmission grid closer to offshore wind locations;
  3. optimal landfall approaches to reduce environmental impacts, and any necessary offshore substations; and
  4. interconnections between offshore substations, sometimes called a transmission “backbone,” to provide benefits of a networked offshore grid.

After the solicitation window closes on August 13, 2021, BPU and PJM will evaluate all submissions to determine which, if any, combination of project proposals can meet the State’s offshore wind policy goals. The competitive solicitation process contains extensive consumer protections – such as the ability to phase-in transmission upgrades to control cost – and provides BPU the right to terminate the process at any time without making a selection.

More information about New Jersey’s offshore wind program can be found at https://www.njcleanenergy.com/renewable-energy/programs/nj-offshore-wind.

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