PJM Interconnection Delays Threaten State Renewable Goals
New NRDC Report Analyzes Barriers and Risks for New Renewable Energy Builds in East and Midwest
NEW YORK - A new report released today illustrates how PJM’s plans to speed up the queue for new generation projects will likely be insufficient for states committed to renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements. In order for states in PJM to take full advantage of incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), PJM must remove barriers to meeting the market and policy demand for cheap and clean energy. Without action, states will not be able to accommodate the rapid increase in wind and solar growth and be forced to keep dirtier sources online longer.
The new NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) report, Waiting Game: How the Interconnection Queue Threatens Renewable Development in PJM, shows that even under ongoing reform proposals, the pace of renewable development in PJM just barely meets minimum clean energy demands of state RPS laws through 2027. The proposed reforms are very unlikely to meet total regional demand for new renewable generation through 2030.
“States throughout PJM set ambitious RPS goals to cut emissions, lower costs, and boost reliability, but continued delays at PJM threaten to derail these plans,” said Dana Ammann, policy analyst at NRDC and the lead author of the report. “PJM needs to work with the states to reach their renewable goals, and do its part to build the clean grid we need. Without changes to its queue processing pace, PJM will likely force states to fall short of state renewable targets, even after the reforms it approved last year.”
As of September 2022, there were over 202 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy resources waiting in the PJM queue, over 95% of the total queue. For context, there were 200 GW of clean energy resources operating in the entire U.S. in 2021. The Princeton ZERO Lab predicts that PJM will see an additional 1,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy projects enter the queue annually going forward.
This new analysis shows that the proposed timeline for “clearing” the backlog before the new, more efficient processing system takes effect will be necessary to make renewables available on pace with states’ RPS goals.
Without imports, the report predicts that states with an RPS will fall short of RPS requirements through 2025. In 2028, renewables will reach only approximately two-thirds of the total renewable potential under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) projected by the Princeton Net ZERO Lab.
“PJM needs to use the tools and processes at its disposal to meet state needs for renewables,” said Tom Rutigliano, senior advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Flexibility will be essential, and PJM should prioritize existing projects and clusters that can deliver the highest level of clean capacity and reliability to the grid, like offshore wind.”
In 2022 FERC approved a PJM plan to revamp their interconnection backlog and begin reviewing multiple projects at once. PJM expects this new approach to accelerate its process. However, this new process is not expected to begin until 2026.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.