Maryland and New Jersey officials, worried about the high cost of electricity and predictions of limited supplies, are giving up on the established system and seeking to construct their own powerplants.
The Maryland Public Service Commission on Dec. 29 issued a draft request for proposals for up to 1,800 MW of new generation in or around Maryland. The final RFP is expected in March.
A week earlier New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Lee Solomon said the board had started seeking new base-load generation in that state. The New Jersey Legislature was poised to pass a bill that would allow 1,000 MW of base-load generation to be built immediately. The assumption is that a 650-MW plant—proposed by LS Power with air permits in hand—would be the first to be built under the new law.
Driving the states’ push for new powerplants is the regional transmission-grid operator’s failure to attract new generation through market measures, say officials in both states. Under a system developed by the PJM Interconnection, a premium is paid for power in regions that are “constrained” by either limited generation or limited transmission; both incentivize the development of new plants.
Regulators and lawmakers argue that the method simply has increased the price of power in the region and done nothing to encourage new construction.
As a result, the price for power in New Jersey is $245 per MW per day, while Pennsylvania customers, where generation is plentiful, pay only $60 per MW per day, says New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Telecommunications and Utilities Committee chairman.
The pricing model needs to be changed, admits Joseph Bow-ring, PJM’s independent market monitor.