Transmission Overhaul in NJ
- Sep 30, 2021 4:23 pm GMT
On Monday, The Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) of New Jersey announced a $900 million infrastructure plan to their investors. The plan focuses primarily on two areas: boosting “last mile” reliability and expanding and improving the area’s electric vehicle charging ecosystem. If approved, this initiative would drastically increase the utility’s capital spending for the 2021-25 period: $14-16 billion from the previous $13-15 billion projection.
A substantial portion of the proposed budget is dedicated to PSEG’s own EV infrastructure. The company has allocated $125-$150 million for 2,000 new EV chargers to be spread out between their 65 facilities across New Jersey. These chargers will keep the utility’s thousands of soon-to-be electric work vehicles juiced up.
It should be noted that this is PSEG’s second big EV announcement this year. Back in January, The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) gave them the green light for a $166 million EV project. Along with 40,000 residential chargers, 3,500 commercial chargers, and 1,000 Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC), the plan includes upgrades to the utility’s distribution system to accommodate the new chargers. Notably, PSEG did not sign up to actually install the chargers itself, or own them, and neither medium or heavy duty vehicles are supported.
However, by far, the plan’s biggest investment is in transmission infrastructure. $450 million allocated to upgrading electrical substations and gas metering and regulating stations alone. The utility also plans to invest between $175 million to $225 million on what they’ve dubbed “last-mile reliability”, where the transmission network connects to residential areas. Improvements that fall under “last-mile reliability” include: new spacer cables, upgrading poles and replacing underground cables. The plan also includes $75 million to $100 million for capacitor bank and secondary line upgrades, which are supposed to facilitate residential solar and EV charging.
Both PSEG’s powerpoint and recent statements from representatives attribute their 2021 plans to the parallel trends towards homework and electrification. What’s more, these developments coincide with the company’s transition to a regulated utility. On that front, the utility expects to hit a major milestone in 2022 when it sells off its fossil-fuel power plants that sell on the wholesale market.
It’s certainly an exciting time for New Jersey’s grid: Hundreds of millions for electric transportation between the 2021 plans, serious transmission upgrades, and a $700 million smart meter rollout announced last year.
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