New Jersey Agreement on Offshore Wind Transmission Solicitation Greenlighted

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a State Agreement Approach (SAA) to implement New Jersey’s offshore wind transmission grid solicitation, executed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and PJM Interconnection.

The agreement allows the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) to use PJM’s competitive planning process to help the state achieve its ambitious offshore wind goals and details the contractual commitments and responsibilities of the two parties regarding the competitive selection of transmission solutions.

PJM and NJBPU already organised an application period for New Jersey offshore wind transmission solutions last year and received 80 proposals from utilities and developers. PJM plans to make a recommendation to the NJBPU by the end of Summer, and New Jersey expects to make a decision about which – if any – projects will be selected by the end of the year.

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The State Agreement Approach was incorporated into PJM’s Operating Agreement eight years ago as part of the implementation of FERC Order 1000, but this is the first time a jurisdiction in the PJM footprint has requested to use it to further its renewable energy goals, according to the federal agency.

The provision enables a state, or group of states, to propose a project to assist in realising state public policy requirements as long as the state (or states) agrees to pay all costs of any state-selected build-out included in the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), which typically includes projects driven by reliability or market-efficiency criteria, FERC said.

“This first-of-its-kind agreement with New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on behalf of New Jersey provides a unique pathway to help states reach their energy policy goals while maintaining the focus on reliability and affordability”, said Suzanne Glatz, Director – Strategic Initiatives and Interregional Planning. “FERC’s order establishes a template for all states in the PJM region to implement their specific public policies with the help of PJM’s independence, expertise and proven competitive planning process”.

To allow for the SAA process to be completed and the outcome incorporated into the guidance documents of the third solicitation for New Jersey’s offshore wind development, the NJBPU postponed the offshore wind generation solicitation until January 2023.

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The 1,200 MW solicitation, which was previously anticipated to be launched in September 2022, is now planned to close by the end of 2023.

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Photo: Illustration; Photo source: TenneT (archive)