PPL Electric Utilities is proposing a major new power line project that would have significant benefits for millions of electric customers in several states. Additionally, the Pennsylvania-based utility submitted the project to PJM Interconnection as part of the competitive solicitation process under FERC Order 1000. As currently proposed, the 500-kilovolt line would run about 725 miles from western Pennsylvania into New York and New Jersey, and also south into Maryland.
By delivering lower-cost electricity into the region, and by enabling the development of new power plants fueled by lower-cost and cleaner-burning natural gas, the project is expected to create savings for millions of electric customers in several states including Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, according to the PPL Electric Utilities analysis submitted to PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization serving states such as Deleware, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.
The project is in the preliminary planning stages. If approved and built as proposed, the line would help replace supplies of electricity that will be lost when existing power plants retire. It also would help prevent power shortages during periods of extremely high demand, like the prolonged severe cold weather this past winter.
"This is a forward-looking project with significant benefits for customers, for several states and for the region as a whole," said Gregory N. Dudkin, president of PPL Electric Utilities. He noted that the company has extensive experience planning, obtaining approval for and building major regional electricity infrastructure projects.
The company has begun a comprehensive regional planning effort to determine the best route and final details of the proposed line. As always with such projects, the company would have an inclusive public outreach process and would consider public input when making a final route selection.
The project is expected to create jobs, including thousands of temporary construction jobs, and have a lasting positive impact on the regional economy. The project also is expected to foster regional economic development as new employers take advantage of a reliable, secure and lower-cost supply of energy.
"The project would help secure this region's ability to deliver adequate supplies of energy for decades to come," said Dudkin. "In addition, it would make the electricity delivery network more reliable and more secure over a wide swath of the Mid-Atlantic region."
According to preliminary estimates, the cost of the project would be between $4 billion and $6 billion. These potential capital expenditures are not included in PPL Corporation's most recent capital expenditure projections. PPL Electric Utilities may enter into partnerships to develop and build some or all of the project.
The preliminary timeline envisions completion of the project between 2023 and 2025, assuming all necessary approvals are received and construction begins in 2017. Approvals are needed from various regulatory and regional planning entities.
PPL Electric Utilities will be meeting with appropriate state and federal agencies as planning for the project moves forward. Further details of the project will be made public as they become available. PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation, provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania. The company owns and operates 4,500 miles of electric transmission lines.
PPL Corporation, with 2013 revenues of $12 billion, is one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector. The PPL family of companies delivers electricity and natural gas to about 10 million customers in the United States and the United Kingdom.