PPL Utilities to build transmission line from Marcellus to East Coast USA

Pylon against a blue sky

The U.S. electric utilities company, PPL, has announced the intention to build 725 miles of new transmission line stretching across northern Pennsylvania to New York and New Jersey and south to Maryland.

The company said that by bringing energy from the Marcellus Shale natural gas fields to customers on the heavily populated Eastern Seaboard, the project was likely to increase reliability during demand-driven power shortages and save money for customers.

“We don’t have a specific per-megawatt-hour estimate right now, but our analysis shows consumers in these states would save hundreds of millions of dollars per year in power costs,” said PPL Electric Utilities spokesman Paul Wirth.

The project, which is expected to cost in excess of $4 billion, would involve building a 500-kilovolt line that would run thought Pennsylvania and reach into New York, New Jersey and Maryland. The PPL said that the exact route has not been yet determined.

Taking the first step in a long approval process, PPL submitted a proposal for the power line to PJM Interconnection, the multistate grid operator. The project will also need to receive a permission from the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

PPL says that the transmission lines would be fuelled by small natural gas generators located in the Marcellus shale plays. Some utility companies have already been stringing transmission lines to allow plants to move their electricity into the power grid.

“We already see this development taking place with gas pipelines and generations,” said Wirth. “We are confident that this will continue.”

The company hopes to begin construction in 2017 and complete the project by 2023-2025.

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