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Important Transmission Solutions Meeting Called in New Jersey

 
On 12th November The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will meet stakeholders and interested parties to discuss how best to create the necessary transmission networks for their planned OW projects.

 

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has invited input on plans for an offshore transmission system to connect new offshore wind farms to the onshore grid. A meeting will take place in Trenton, NJ, on 12th November for interested parties to comment on multiple offshore wind transmission solutions.

Deadline for attending is 12 noon (EST) Thursday, November 7, 2019 via an email to OSW.Stakeholder@bpu.nj.gov

 

The meeting will discuss a four topics:

  1. How Other Administrations Have Built Transmission Facilities Including in Europe
  2. The Offshore Wind Transmission Development Framework
  3. Technical Considerations for Offshore Transmission Facilities
  4. Cost Responsibility and Business Model Considerations

     

This is to be considered in the light of the Draft 2019 Energy Master Plan (EMP), which provides an initial blueprint for the total conversion of New Jersey’s energy profile to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The plan aims to meet or exceed the Global Warming Response Act greenhouse emissions reductions of 80 percent relative to 2006 levels by 2050.

 

1. How Other Administrations Have Built Transmission Facilities Including in Europe

 

Specific topics of discussion that the BPU is interested in receiving comment on include:

a. European efforts to construct shared transmission facilities to bring offshore

wind power ashore in a cost-effective manner;

b. California’s transmission build-out in the Tehachapi region of California;

c. Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zone and whether a similar model would

be suitable for offshore wind in New Jersey;

d. Experience with merchant or competitive transmission models to access

geographically limited renewables; and

e. Other models that New Jersey should consider for facilitating offshore wind

power.

For each of these various models, the BPU Staff requests that the discussion include comments on the costs and benefits of these various programs, whether they worked or not, financing considerations, and the potential risks to ratepayers.

 

2. Offshore Wind Transmission Framework

 

This panel is designed to hear from interested stakeholders about the optimal development framework for transmission infrastructure to meet New Jersey’s Offshore Wind goals. The panelists should apply the experience from Panel 1, or newly-developed ideas, to the specific legal and regulatory framework of New Jersey.

 

Specific topics of discussion that the BPU Staff is interested in receiving comment on include:

a. Discuss the pros and cons of using networked or radial offshore transmission

solutions and which might best promote the growth of New Jersey’s offshore

wind industry;

b. Describe the pros and cons of selecting between in-state, regional, or interregional shared transmission facilities;

c. Describe optimal location, or the further analysis necessary to determine optimal

location, of recommended transmission solutions;

d. How do different transmission development framework ensure competition; i.e.

not provide advantage or disadvantage to any particular offshore wind developer

or region of the ocean;

e. Describe how different transmission development frameworks could be pursued

within the existing state, regional, or interregional regulatory structures. Are new

regulatory processes necessary?; and

f. What concrete next steps BPU could pursue to achieve the recommended

framework.

 

For each of these topics, the Staff requests that stakeholders’ discussion include a focus on the relative benefits to deployment schedule and cost, as well as how the recommended transmission development framework would be incorporated into future solicitations, given all inherent uncertainties.

 

3. Technical Considerations for Offshore Transmission Facilities

 

This panel is designed for stakeholders to present technical recommendations related to the proffered recommendations. Participants should focus on ensuring efficient growth towards New Jersey’s Offshore Wind goals.

 

Specific topics of discussion that Staff is interested in receiving comment on include:

a. Describe technical considerations that could lead to efficient build-out of

transmission to facilitate the mandated solicitations;

b. Describe technical (PJM Tariff, FERC Orders, or engineering) considerations

that would allow for eventual shared use of interconnection facilities initially

meant for radial use. Assess efficiency of this option relative to a planned

shared transmission grid;

c. Should state or regional standards be set to encourage efficient growth?;

d. Should any shared offshore transmission facilities operate as a Direct Current or

Alternating Current facilities?; and

e. Describe any additional challenges (for ratepayers or industry) for developing

inter-regional shared transmission.

 

For each of these questions, Staff requests that stakeholders’ discussion include plans or proposals that the Board could consider, with special emphasis on timing, feasibility, and financial risk to ratepayers. Discussion should include the use of radial lines, the use of collector platforms, the use of networked facilities, backbone transmission lines, or other innovative technologies.

 

4. Cost Responsibility and Business Model Considerations

 

Cost and business model are important considerations for successful construction of Offshore Wind Transmission. Participants should provide recommendations addressing issues associated with cost responsibility assignments. Discussion should consider potential for stranded cost recovery and risk to ratepayers.

 

Specific topics of discussion that the BPU Staff is interested in receiving comment on include:

a. How would costs and benefits of any shared offshore transmission facilities be

allocated and assigned?

b. How should costs be assigned to parties interconnecting to the offshore wind

facility, including requests by projects under contract to other states or regional

grids?

c. Should a new planning authority be developed to design engineering and cost

allocation standards specifically for Offshore Wind transmission?

d. Describe existing regulations related to costs assigned for shared use of

attachment facilities initially meant for radial use. Would additional BPU

guidance be appropriate?

e. How should BPU evaluate 1) utility (rate-base), 2) non-utility (merchant), and 3)

bundled (OREC) proposals in terms of feasibility and risk to captive New Jersey

customers? Should BPU issue further guidance on ownership structure?

f. How could the BPU solicitation process be altered to accommodate the

transmission frameworks recommended? Is existing legislative authority

sufficient to accommodate the recommendations?

 

For each of these topics, the BPU Staff requests that stakeholders’ discussion focus on recommendations that could inform the Board as it pursues future solicitations

The Stakeholder Meeting will be held:

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Location: Trenton War Memorial, Delaware River Room

1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, NJ 08608

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Note: this stakeholder meeting will include a panel discussion comprised of representative stakeholders, moderated by BPU Staff. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to ask questions to the panel, as well as to provide formal oral comments. This meeting will be recorded by a court reporter. Stakeholders interested in attending may register no later than noon on Thursday, November 7, 2019 via an email to OSW.Stakeholder@bpu.nj.gov.

https://www.bpu.state.nj.us/

 

The US offshore wind market is probably the most rapidly-developing renewable energy sector in the world. Follow #USOW20 for the latest news and expert opinions.

5th US Offshore Wind 2020 Conference
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By Julian Jackson – writer on technology, arts, blockchain and cryptocurrencies

 


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