Monday, February 28, 2011

The Death Knell for PATH?


This morning, the regional electric grid manager, PJM, issued a statement saying that they've ordered development of the PATH transmission line to halt.

(As a reminder, "PATH" is a multi-billion dollar proposal to build a 275-mile long 765-kV transmission line starting at the Amos coal plant in West Virginia, through West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. In Virginia, it would have crossed through Frederick, the tip of Clarke, and Loudoun counties, and in that process, it would have given Virginia ZERO voltage) The whole process of the latest bid is covered here and here....

PJM cited the results of new tests that had been ordered by the Hearing Examiner assigned to the case by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). These were probably prompted by this news.

The new tests required PJM to use the most current economic forecasts and Demand Response commitments, as well as incorporate potential new generation resources:

"Preliminary analysis reveals the expected reliability violations that necessitated PATH have moved several years into the future. Based on these latest results, the Board has decided to hold the PATH project in abeyance in its 2011 RTEP. The Board further directs the sponsoring Transmission Owners to suspend current development efforts on the PATH project..." ~Statement of Terry Boston, President and CEO, PJM

In the PATH case, the push for a better analysis was joined by the SCC staff, allies at Sierra Club, and countless citizen intervenors across three states. Hats off to the Virginia SCC for ordering the additional tests, and to everyone who has stayed involved, written a letter, passed a resolution, spoken at a public hearing or made a donation to support the Piedmont Environmental Council's work on energy and transmission.

Having been involved in a number of transmission line fights over the past 5 years, it's really gratifying to see something go the way it should, versus the way the utility wants. There is always the chance that PATH will reapply, but today is a very good day.

I'm very pleased that the actual numbers and facts are bearing out what I've said from the start. PATH has been , and continues to be, all about profit....yours and my property rights be damned.

Updated: In response to the announcement, PATH has dropped the application.


Citizen Tom said...

Because rail is so efficient, it makes more sense to transport fuel than electricity. So it makes more sense to build power plants near where the electricity will be used. Unfortunately, most people (not in my back yard) do not want a coal-fired power plant anywhere near them. So we end up with these crazy schemes.

With the windmill craze, it is only going to get worse. Because windmills are so darn noisy and some places are windier than others, so-called entrepreneurs will want taxpayer funds to build high voltage power lines to support their supposedly environmentally friendly projects. We need to throw out any politician that supports such waste.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Hey, Tom. Happy New 2011.
I'm in agreement with you, and often thought they'd have been better off if they just transported the coal to NJ on this one, ESPECIALLY after a review indicated that they'd lose 50% of the power in transmission.
But, I'm sweet on whatever seems to be going on in NJ..
They've reduced their consumption from the estimates by some 300 Megawatts this winter. That's anticipated to drop another 100 Megawatts this spring.
Ultimately, that was the first card to crumble, and it brought the house down with it.