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Outlook for Pending Generation in the PJM Interconnection Queue

Outlook for Pending Generation in the PJM Interconnection Queue

Full Title: Outlook for Pending Generation in the PJM Interconnection Queue
Author(s): Abraham Silverman, Zachary A. Wendling, Kavyaa Rizal, and Devan Samant
Publisher(s): Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA
Publication Date: May 8, 2024
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The United States is witnessing rapidly growing interest in clean electricity generation, driven by soaring consumer demand for clean energy and the country’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In parallel, the time it takes for new, clean generation projects to move from design to execution in the US has lengthened, meaning that the rising interest has not been matched by supply. The country’s largest grid operator, PJM Interconnection (PJM), has experienced the most severe delays and backlog in new generation—projects entering the queue today have little chance of coming online before 2030.

It is widely understood that an increasingly lengthy interconnection process is responsible for this state of affairs. It is not clear how this longer process interacts with other known project development challenges—such as siting and permitting issues, supply chain constraints, and inflationary pressures—and to what extent such interactions may lengthen the timeline for bringing projects online. Understanding these dynamics can help answer critical questions about grid reliability going forward, including whether it will be necessary to delay or cancel the planned retirement of aging fossil fuel-fired generation resources that the new generation is intended to replace.

This report presents results of an author-developed survey of those best positioned to understand the impacts of interconnection process delays: project developers in the PJM market. The key finding from the survey is that PJM’s increasingly lengthy interconnection process is exacerbating siting and permitting challenges. This leads to knock-on delays in equipment procurement and financing decisions, suggesting the timeline for new generation in this market will likely remain long for the foreseeable future. Given the importance of new entry to keeping prices competitive and maintaining reliability amid the retirement of older fossil resources, PJM will need to find ways to reduce interconnection delays or reconsider when those fossil resources should be retired.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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