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Transmission


Transmission

As with most clean energy generation, connecting projects into the regional energy system is critical. For offshore wind generation projects, interconnection involves the transport of electricity generated offshore to onshore landings, known as points of interconnection (POI). From these points, the electricity is injected into the grid, which is operated by an Independent System Operator (ISO). New Jersey is part of a multi-state regional grid operated by PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM).

There are two main ways that offshore wind energy is interconnected to the grid – radial export cables and a system by which multiple projects are collected offshore for interconnection to the grid (sometimes called “Ocean Grid”).

Radial export cables are bundled with offshore wind generation assets and this approach has been proposed for all U.S. offshore wind projects to date. Radial export cables typically utilize one or more high voltage alternating current (HVAC) cables to transmit power from individual projects to one or more POIs. They are designed to be built in line with the project schedule. This approach is commonly used in European offshore wind transmission. New Jersey has required radial export cables to be used for the first and second offshore wind solicitations.

An Ocean Grid configuration would be a separate, independent transmission project, connecting multiple offshore wind generation projects to multiple onshore POIs. An Ocean Grid generally utilizes high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology for the cable to shore and HVAC/HVDC converters.

On November 18, 2020 the NJBPU positioned New Jersey to be the first state to fully align its offshore wind transmission goals with its regional grid operator’s planning process. In furtherance of these objectives, set out by Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035, and by the Legislature, the Board formally requested the inclusion of this state public policy into the transmission planning process of PJM through a competitive solicitation process in what is known as the State Agreement Approach. By making this formal request, the NJBPU can utilize the State Agreement Approach to explore options for an optimal long-term solution for offshore wind transmission that otherwise may not have been available at this stage of development. Through the solicitation process, NJBPU will examine details on a wide array of ready-to-build transmission options, including key factors such as cost, siting, environmental impacts, and the timeframe for construction.

The process will also allow NJBPU to determine how a coordinated approach can lead to more cost-effective, efficient transmission solutions that minimize the environmental impacts of bringing wind energy ashore. Additional information regarding the NJBPU press release which describes this action can be found here.



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