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US grid operator PJM asks for postponement of fossil fuel plant retirements

  • 3 months ago (2024-01-11)
  • David Flin
Gas 369 North America 996 Oil 15 Transmission 181

PJM Interconnection , the largest US power grid operator, has asked Talen Energy to postpone retirement of four fossil-fuel-powered plants in Maryland by three years, citing reliability concerns.

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In October, Talen Energy notified the grid operator of its plans to shut three oil-fired units and a natural gas-fired unit at its HA Wagner facilities by June 2025. The units, located in Anne Arundel County near Baltimore, Maryland, have a combined generating capacity of 844 MW.

Ongoing efforts to de-carbonise the grid have prompted power plant owners to shutter facilities powered by fossil fuels and shift to more renewable energy sources. The shift has created reliability issues during periods of peak demand when sun and wind fail to generate enough power.

PJM said that deactivation of the units would adversely affect reliability of the power system without transmission upgrades. In December 2023, the PJM board approved a set of transmission projects, which includes adding new substations and power lines, at an estimated cost of $5 billion. The enhancements are aimed at maintaining the reliability of the regional power system.