Wind and solar capacity in the nation’s largest power market is expected to increase three- to eightfold over the next 15 years, dramatically reshaping the current resource mix for the more than 65 million people living in the region, according to a new report from the area's grid operator.
The shift in the region — which spans 13 mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia — from a mostly fossil fuel-powered grid to one dependent on lots of renewable energy and battery storage will require careful planning and come at a price: More than $3 billion in grid enhancements will be needed in the coming years to connect new clean resources to the transmission system, the analysis found.
The report from PJM Interconnection LLC offers one of the most ambitious and detailed analyses to date on the scope of the region’s transition to cleaner energy, said Tom Rutigliano, a senior advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council. It could also be a model for other grid regions grappling with how to incorporate large quantities of wind, solar and battery projects into their grid systems, he said.
“This planning is exactly what every grid operator needs to be doing now so that we get the transmission lines and other technologies in place to allow the transition to clean, green and low-cost energy,” said Rutigliano, who was not involved in developing the report.