As our energy mix changes, the need to improve the infrastructure for delivering that power also grows. Utilities recognize that need and are investing in upgrades to their delivery systems. Customers in New York and Pennsylvania are about to benefit from one such upgrade.
In October, PPL Electric Utilities Corp., a subsidiary of PPL Corp., began the application and approval process for the first segment of a major new transmission going by the name of “Project Compass.”
The first segment of the project is a 95-mile line between Blakely, Pa., and Ramapo, N.Y. The proposed 345-kilovolt link between the PJM Interconnection and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is intended to make the electric grid more reliable and secure. The utility expects the $500–$600 million project to provide an estimated savings of at least $200 million per year for New York consumers by reducing transmission congestion and lowering the wholesale price for electricity.
The utility filed its first application with the NYISO. Additional approvals are needed from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the New York Public Service Commission, PJM and other agencies. The exact route of the first segment of Project Compass has not yet been determined and must be approved by regulators in both states.
PPL touts several benefits of the project, including lower electric bills, better electric service and new jobs and economic development in the region it is intended to serve.
The current schedule calls for the first segment to be in service by 2023. While this can stand alone as a valuable grid improvement, the full project is intended to run about 475 miles from western Pennsylvania into south-eastern New York. The cost of Project Compass is estimated at $3–$4 billion.