Focal Areas

PJM Interconnection

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Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia are covered at least in part by the PJM Interconnection, one of several regional transmission organizations (RTOs) that coordinate the movement of wholesale electricity.

Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is working with stakeholders in these PJM states--Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia--to sort through rapid change in the electricity sector driven by factors like historically low natural gas prices, dramatic reductions in the cost of renewable energy, and new and evolving environmental regulations.

The line between federal and state jurisdiction over the electricity sector is shifting. Regionalization of the electric grid and development of interstate markets for electricity, electric capacity, and transmission development have expanded the responsibilities of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) even as states have retained jurisdiction over generation facilities and retail markets. The result has been skirmishes over state policies, such as mandates for renewables and clean energy standards that include incentives for existing nuclear energy to remain in operation—skirmishes that may affect PJM's federally regulated wholesale markets.

This federal-state friction could have broad implications for states’ system of utility regulation such as whether and how FERC could use its jurisdiction over interstate markets to influence the economics of nuclear power or to accommodate or preempt state’s policies on nuclear power.  A report co-authored with researchers from the University of North Carolina and Harvard Law School discusses these jurisdictional disputes and the role that the president might play in them through FERC appointments and other mechanisms.