The PJM Interconnection, which is the regional transmission organization that manages the movement of wholesale electricity in the Northeast, has announced that is has given the green light to spend over $1.5 billion on transmission upgrades in areas served by PSE&G, AEP, Dominion Power, Duke Energy (OH & KY), PP&L and MetEd.
What PJM Really Wants
As you have probably guessed, I applaud this move! This initiative should improve (or at least maintain) electric reliability in the region, especially since some of the targeted components of the infrastructure were built over 80 years ago. The project involves things like replacing transformers, upgrading circuits, rebuilding certain line segments, and building a new switching station, and it is one of many upgrade projects that PJM has authorized since 2000. PJM has clearly demonstrated a huge focus on grid reliability, authorizing over $30 billion in upgrades in the past 17 years alone.
Efforts like this are of tremendous benefit to electric utilities, as anything that helps reliability also helps emergency preparedness, almost by default. That said, this does not mean that emergency preparedness is less important. Conversely, it is more important now than ever before, as infrastructure upgrades such as the PJM project cannot completely counteract another major trend that hurts reliability – global warming. So, keep training, keep drilling, and most of all, keep preparing!