In the utility sector, not many issues cause industry stakeholders more anxiety than the aging infrastructure and continuously increasing demand. Around the country, utilities are investing heavily to keep up with degradation and power-hungry consumers.
PPL Electric Utilities Corp. provides electric-delivery services to approximately 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania, and it is proposing a major new regional transmission line to ensure the reliability and security of its electricity distribution.
The 500-kilovolt line would run from western Pennsylvania into New York, New Jersey and Maryland, which totals approximately 725 miles.
“The project would help secure this region’s ability to deliver adequate supplies of energy for decades to come,” said Gregory N. Dudkin, president of PPL Electric Utilities, in a press release. “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 project would cost between $4 billion and $6 billion. Since PPL did not include these expenditures in its projections, the utility is considering partnerships to aid in funding. However, PPL said this new line would reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. The line would enable the development of natural gas power plants, which are lower cost than the plants the utility currently leverages.
PPL already has plans to retire those less-efficient, higher cost power plants, so the new line is seemingly necessary for the utility to achieve its ultimate goals of sustaining its transmission capacity.
The company is already building two other major high-voltage transmission projects, the Susquehanna-Roseland line and the Northeast-Pocono Reliability Project. This new transmission line would be part of a comprehensive approach to ensuring the integrity of the Mid-Atlantic electric grid for years to come.