Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:
PJM Interconnection says generating facility essential to reliability of power grid
Credit: Kirk Moore
B.L. England is not shutting down anytime soon — again.
The power plant in Beesleys Point, scheduled to close next month, will continue to operate under a directive from PJM Interconnection, the operator of the nation’s largest power grid.
The decision is largely unrelated to a continuing controversy over the past few years about converting the coal-fired generating facility to natural gas by building a 22-mile gas pipeline to the facility, partly through the Pinelands. That project is tied up in litigation.
PJM wants the remaining units at the plant to keep running for another two years while transmission upgrades now underway are completed to maintain the reliability of the power grid. That work is not expected to be finished until 2019, according to PJM.
“If the transmission work is done, they could be retired sooner,’’ said Ray Dotter, a spokesman for PJM.
The owner of the plant agreed to shut down the facility — at the time one of the most polluting units in the state — according to an administrative consent order with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2014. The order included a provision that the shutdown would not take effect if PJM deemed the units needed to keep the lights on in the region, which it has.
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