Planning for whichever way the wind blows

By Paula DuPont-Kidd

We see a big wind coming.

Nearly 35,000 megawatts of wind generation is proposed to be built within PJM, with more proposals possible as developers consider offshore wind farms.

That would be enough capacity to run Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Va., with power to spare. (The Renewable Energy Dashboard offers the latest information on renewable energy connected to PJM and what is proposed.)

Mountain ridges and ocean coast lines provide good opportunities for wind generation. However, those locations don’t necessarily relate to the best places to plug into the high-voltage transmission system. For example, the challenges of moving Midwestern wind power to eastern population centers are different from the requirements to deliver offshore wind power to eastern metro areas.

Two PJM studies will look at where wind power will be built, how it could be connected to the grid and the impact of renewable resources (PDF) on the planning and operation of the transmission system.

One study examines the impacts of large-scale renewable energy development on grid operations, planning and wholesale electricity markets.

The other study looks at how each state’s requirements for renewable energy like wind and solar affect the need to add power lines or to upgrade the high-voltage transmission system.

The study will develop scenarios for where new renewable resources are likely to be located based on PJM’s data about proposed generation as well as National Renewable Energy Laboratory data.

The final report, expected in the third quarter of this year, will show what the system could look like in 2021 and 2026.

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