News Release from American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Renewable Energy Projects Trapped in PJM’s Interconnection Queue Would Create Thousands of New Jobs, Billions in Capital Investment

New ACORE Analysis Quantifies How Each Mid-Atlantic State Would Economically Benefit from Projects Currently Awaiting Grid Connection

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

The low-cost, clean power that American businesses and homeowners are demanding is ready for deployment, but thousands of renewable energy projects are stuck in grid interconnection queues across the country, facing long delays and rising costs. Nearly all the active projects currently seeking grid connection across America are wind, solar, and battery storage projects that, if developed, could help meet decarbonization targets, create new jobs, and drive significant capital investment.

In a first-of-its-kind analysis being released today, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) quantified the potential economic benefits of the onshore renewable energy projects awaiting grid connection in PJM, the largest electricity market in the United States. Findings from the report, Power Up PJM, show that if these renewable projects could be brought online at the pace PJM was approving projects in the recent past (from 2011 to 2016), 34 gigawatts of new renewable power could reach commercial operation in the region over the next four years, enabling nearly 200,000 job-years and approximately $33 billion in capital investment.

“Tens of billions of dollars and thousands of good-paying jobs are being left on the table because of broken interconnection and transmission planning processes,” said ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone. “The current grid backlog is unprecedented. With commonsense reforms, grid planners and operators could ease the logjam in our nation’s interconnection queues, accelerating the renewable transition and delivering meaningful economic and health benefits to states across America.”

To begin addressing these issues, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved a set of procedural reforms that have kickstarted a four-year transition period for PJM to evaluate pending interconnection applications. ACORE’s new analysis focuses on the 2,003 renewable energy projects in this transition cycle for PJM and includes a state-by-state breakdown of the potential job creation and capital investment these projects can deliver. Virginia is projected to see the most benefits, with the potential for over 50,000 job-years and $8.5 billion in capital investment, followed by Illinois (nearly 32,000 job-years, $5.5 billion in capital investment), Ohio (over 29,500 job-years, $4.8 billion in capital investment), and Indiana (nearly 29,000 job-years, $4.7 billion in capital investment).

“The interconnection queue is so much more than a series of engineering formulas,” said Dana Ammann, Policy Analyst for the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Unlocking the interconnection queue is key for states to realize well-paid, green jobs and economic opportunities under the Inflation Reduction Act.”

The report also quantifies how interconnection reforms could have yielded even greater benefits – an additional 100,000 job-years and nearly $17 billion in capital investment over the next four years – if PJM had proactively planned more transmission. Power Up PJM concludes with a set of recommendations for both PJM and FERC that would help improve the interconnection process and reduce future backlogs.

To download ACORE’s new Power Up PJM report, click here.

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ACORE; USA, transmission, jobs, interconnection, queue, economy, Midwest, clean, green, power, renewable energy, transmission grid

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