Allentown, PA /PRNewswire/ - PPL Corporation , through its subsidiary PPL TransLink Inc. and Elia Group, through its subsidiary WindGrid, today announced an agreement to develop and propose innovative transmission solutions to reliably and efficiently integrate future offshore wind capacity to the onshore grid in the New England region.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop, build and operate transmission assets. This will combine PPL's extensive experience in building and operating large-scale onshore transmission in the U.S. with Elia Group's proven track record in building, integrating and operating offshore transmission, including high-voltage direct current (HVDC) networks.
"As the U.S. seeks to accelerate the development of offshore wind to advance a cleaner energy future, it's essential that we prepare to integrate that wind generation as reliably and efficiently as possible to strengthen grid resilience and keep energy affordable," said Vincent Sorgi, president and chief executive officer of PPL Corporation. "Both PPL and Elia Group are at the forefront of grid innovation, and together with WindGrid, we intend to leverage our shared vision and deep expertise to propose solutions that advance decarbonization goals, enhance energy security and drive value for consumers."
Later this month, PPL and WindGrid plan to jointly respond to a request for information (RFI) issued by five New England states that are seeking input from interested stakeholders relating to the transmission system changes and upgrades that are needed to integrate future renewable energy resources into their grids.
The states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire – recognize the importance of early planning for carrying out this offshore wind development. Recent studies, including Massachusetts' Energy Pathways to Deep Decarbonization report, which is cited in the RFI, assume that up to 30,000 megawatts of New England offshore wind capacity will be deployed by 2050.
"Both PPL and Elia Group share the same open mind and vision regarding innovative offshore transmission solutions," said Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group. "By uniting our complementary skills and building on the experience Elia Group has built up in Europe, we want to undertake offshore development in the interest of society. PPL is a reliable and robust player in the U.S. energy sector. Our values and ambitions in terms of driving the energy transition are well matched."
For more than 25 years, Elia Group has been a front-runner in offshore electricity transmission. Through its subsidiaries in Belgium (Elia) and Germany (50Hertz), the company has connected 14 wind farms (3,500 MW by the end of 2022) to its onshore grid and is currently operating three HVDC subsea cable interconnectors. The company built the world's first hybrid interconnector (an interconnector that is connected to three offshore wind farms) and has pioneered many innovative projects and approaches, including the first offshore alternating current grid in Germany and the use of X-ray technology for offshore cable inspections.
New innovative projects are on their way. Elia Group is currently developing the world's first energy islands that will form the building blocks of an integrated European offshore grid. These offshore electricity hubs will link wind farms and HVDC interconnectors to multiple European countries. All of Elia's projects are realized in close partnership with wind developers, other grid operators and international partners across the value chain.
Elia Group's transmission system has a reliability rate of 99.99%, and like PPL, the company continues to invest in advanced technology and digitalization.
Through its subsidiaries, PPL Corporation has invested more than $9 billion in transmission in the U.S. over the past decade, part of more than $30 billion invested overall in utility infrastructure and technology. The company has significant experience engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to successfully site new transmission projects and working with regional transmission organizations to strengthen grid resilience. PPL is an industry leader in deploying smart grid technology and automation to drive value for customers and operates one of the nation's most reliable electricity networks.
About PPL Corporation
PPL Corporation , based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a leading U.S. energy company focused on providing electricity and natural gas safely, reliably and affordably to 3.5 million customers in the U.S. PPL's high-performing, award-winning utilities are addressing energy challenges head-on by building smarter, more resilient and more dynamic power grids and advancing sustainable energy solutions. For more information, visit www.pplweb.com.
About PPL TransLink Inc
PPL TransLink Inc., a subsidiary of PPL Corporation, is focused on developing transmission solutions and key infrastructure to strengthen grid resilience outside of PPL's regulated utility service territories, position the grid as an enabler of clean energy resources, and help move power, including electricity from renewable resources, to where it is needed most by homes and businesses.
About Elia Group
Elia Group is a key player in electricity transmission. Through its subsidiaries in Belgium (Elia) and the north and east of Germany (50Hertz), Elia operates 19,192 kilometers of high-voltage connections on land and at sea. In addition to Elia Group's activities as a system operator, the company provides various consulting services (via Elia Grid International) and, through its newest subsidiary WindGrid, is aiming to be a reliable partner for governments that want to proactively build offshore grid infrastructure and renewable energy developers that are looking for solutions that will allow them to securely connect and integrate their offshore energy projects into the onshore grid. For more information , visit www.eliagroup.eu.