The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) is moving forward with a novel approach to transmission planning as it endeavours to reach Governor Murphy’s goal of 7,500MW of offshore wind energy by 2035. Regional grid operator PJM Interconnection (PJM) has opened a 120-day solicitation window on behalf of NJBPU for qualified developers to submit potential transmission solutions that would help deliver offshore wind energy to the existing power grid.
The solicitation process, which PJM will manage, will enable NJBPU 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:
- upgrades to the existing grid to facilitate the offshore wind energy injections,
- extension of the onshore transmission grid closer to offshore wind locations,
- optimal landfall approaches to reduce environmental impacts, and any necessary offshore substations, and
- 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, NJBPU and PJM will evaluate all submissions to determine which, if any, combination of project proposals can meet the State’s offshore wind policy goals.