I think PPL needs to do a round of drug testing of its employees. Whoever came up with this idiotic idea must be on something.
PPL announced today that it had "submitted an application to PJM" to build a 725-mile 500kV line, estimated to cost $6B, through four mid-Atlantic states.
Never going to happen.
Residents of affected states are still reeling from PJM's last big transmission building idea, Project Mountaineer, that cost them billions, including nearly half a billion dollars for planned projects that were never built. Try it, PPL, and you will experience coordinated, strategic opposition like you've never seen before!
The Morning Call seems to be the first media outlet to... err... call PPL out on its outrageous money-making scheme. PPL interstate transmission project both costly and lucrative: Project would fill utility coffers while costing ratepayers billions of dollars.
Morning Call says:
The project also would be a significant source of revenue for PPL Corp., PPL Electric Utilities' Allentown-based parent. Under Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rules designed to encourage infrastructure investment, utilities may earn a profit of 11.68 percent on transmission projects.
That translates into a profit of up to $700 million. PPL would share the money with any other utilities that participate in the project.
PPL customers, meanwhile, would see the cost, including utility profits, reflected in their rates — though the burden of paying for the project would be shared by ratepayers in all four of the states involved.
But, Morning Call only sees the tip of this iceberg. PPL can apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for transmission rate incentives that would up its profits significantly. In addition to incentive ROE adders that can increase the 11.68 percent several percentage points, PPL can also ask for guaranteed cost recovery in event of abandonment, a return on construction work in progress that enables them to begin earning that juicy return immediately, even before the project is completed, and many other outrageous financial rewards.
In addition, Morning Call's math is wrong. The $700 million profit the reporter calculated is only that earned in THE FIRST YEAR of operation. Transmission project rates work sort of like a 40-year mortgage. The return is calculated and paid on the depreciating balance of the project cost every year! So, in the first year of operation, PPL would earn a return on $6B and collect a certain amount of depreciation on the project assets that would lower the balance owed by ratepayers. The second year, PPL would earn a return on the depreciated balance, and additional depreciation. And so on, over the 40 year (or more) life of the capital assets. PPL's possible profit from this ridiculous project is a nearly endless goldmine!
And, one last thing Morning Call gets wrong -- this project will be paid for, in part, by ratepayers in all 13 states in the PJM region because of its size. A 500kV project built in PJM is cost allocated at 50% to all ratepayers based on peak usage, with the other 50% being assigned to the cost causers/beneficiaries.
Moving right along into PPL's feeble assertions that its project will:
If approved, PPL predicts, the project will improve energy reliability and security and provide customer savings by eliminating transmission bottlenecks and encouraging development of lower-cost natural gas-fueled generation plants.
The new plants would help replace energy supplied today primarily by coal-fired plants that, under increasingly stringent federal air quality standards, are expected to be retired in coming years.
This doesn't even make sense. The coal-fired plants that will be closing are located in the Ohio valley, not on the east coast. Once those coal-burners are offline, it will free up significant transmission capacity for any new "mine mouth" Marcellus shale gas-fired plants built in the Ohio valley. Why would we need to build a new west to east transmission line when there's already plenty of them sitting idle due to coal-plant closings?
PPL says they will have a robust public input process to find out where to site the line. Seriously? That strategy doesn't work anymore. It's all about need for the line in the first place, not where to put it. Get with the brave new world of transmission opposition, PPL!
And speaking of siting the line... where is that new Maryland substation supposed to be on that featureless map? If you compare it to a real map of Maryland, it looks like it's in Howard or Carroll counties. But, what if there was land available in neighboring Frederick County for a proposed substation? Oh, deja vu!
This has got to be the most thoughtless transmission proposal I've ever seen.
Never going to happen.
Holy corporate reputation issues, Batman!
FirstEnergy wannabe-spinner Charlene Gilliam (All right?) crashed and burned at a Hampshire County Commission meeting yesterday. Bless her heart, it probably wasn't all her fault. It's because she works for a company that has ruined its reputation in this state (and beyond) through a series of greedy, self-interested attacks on its customers and employees.
The people have had it with FirstEnergy's corporate disinterest in the hand that feeds them. And FirstEnergy is too STOOPID to have seen this one coming. Sometimes, I wonder how my lights stay on at all, and then I remember that any smart people who still work for FirstEnergy are the ones driving the bucket trucks that come to our rescue. It's upper management that has been snorting the STOOPID sauce.
Commissioner Hott seems to agree:
“What I think would help is to get some of these guys with ties on to come down and see what’s actually going on. They need guidance at a higher level,” Hott said.
Like maybe Charlene should have brought this character along yesterday?
EUCI and its stable of vacationing utility executives are going to be partying it up at the Roosevelt Hotel
in midtown Manhattan next month.
So, what pretense are they using this time? "Strategic Communication for Transmission Projects." Well, at least they have abandoned the charade that their public relations fabrications are about "participating with the public" this time.
Instead, it's all about manipulating public opinion, or so they think. Topics include:
How Utilities Effectively Manage the Media
Industry experts will discuss how to frame and "sell" transmission projects as the beneficial investments that they are on behalf of the customers. Attendees will learn how these energy executives keep messaging succinct, consistent and well-positioned. Panelists will discuss successful strategies and tactics for interacting with the media.
Does this include a lesson in gagging and tying opposition leaders up in the corner? Otherwise, they're only fooling themselves. The opposition also knows how to "effectively manage the local media," and they know how to do it better, without resorting to threats and lies.
Is this really about educating the public about the truth and reality of transmission, or is it about "selling" a fantasy version of transmission that doesn't include any detriments or drawbacks? Sorry, that ship has sailed. The public simply doesn't believe you anymore. And reporters hate you and all the smoke you blow up their ass.
And speaking of "selling," I'm starting to wonder if EUCI is more about selling the products and services of its "instructors" to conference attendees:
EMF: What the Public Wants to Know and Why It Matters to Your Project
Public concern about electric and magnetic fields (EMF) and related potential health effects began in the late 1970s in association with higher voltage transmission lines and desk top computers. While concern about the latter has largely diminished, concern about EMF from transmission lines and substations continues and is sometimes a major issue in the siting and permitting of these facilities. Our experience demonstrates that presenting technically accurate comparisons of exposures from existing and proposed facilities provides a good context for communicating with the public. Sharing the results of experimental and epidemiology research studies and the perspectives of national and international health and scientific agencies is an effective method to assuage public concern. This session will teach you how to get the science right in your public outreach messages about EMF.
William H. Bailey, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Center for Exposure Assessment & Dose Reconstruction, Exponent
I think Dr. Bailey has no idea what the public really wants to know about EMF, but he probably does know why it matter$ to "you."
Here's what the public really wants to know about EMF:
The professional opinion of a local physician, not the opinion of a company-paid, industry-funded "scientist." Sorry, transmission developers, you just can't buy local credibility.
But, the real fun is at the "post-conference workshop" where the blind will lead the blind in this exercise:
Utilizing Mediation and Negotiation Skills to Diffuse Project Opposition
Inevitably, utility infrastructure projects draw some opposition, in person or through social media. This workshop is designed to identify the real issues behind project opposition, and to utilize mediation and negotiation strategies to gain support. Participants will explore the dynamics of conflict, perceived power imbalances, communication skills, and neutral positioning. Utilizing skill building exercises and strategies for reaching agreements, attendees will learn how to be an effective medium between the project owner and project communities. You will also learn effective strategies and tactics, and share in resolving real opposition issues from current and past projects. You are encouraged to bring your current project issues to develop a resolution strategy.
Identify the concerns behind opposition
Evaluate when and when not to utilize social media to counter opposition attacks
Demonstrate how to properly communicate your message through application and critique.
Knowing your demographics and what is important to your project community
Understanding how to communicate project needs
Utilizing data to create visuals showing system constraints, demand, growth
Educating the opposition through clearly understood messaging
Opposition Working Groups
Seeing your project from the view of the opposition
Working group structure
Using project benefits to the communities advantage
Formulating the strategy of "give and take"
Evaluating how to answer questions such as:
Why not go underground?
Will this harm my property value?
Should we be concerned about EMF?
Developing resolution strategies for your current project opposition
"Seeing your project from the view of the opposition?" And how many transmission projects has EUCI's instructor opposed? My guess would be none. There they go again, attempting to teach a subject they know nothing about.
I do like the new theme I see running through all EUCI's more recent transmission opposition workshops, though. The acknowledgement that opposition has changed, the public is more knowledgeable than before, and that transmission developers are embarking on a strange, new world where their opposition is increasingly organized, strategic and successful is a nice change of pace. Because the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right, EUCI?
PJM officials said that while this solution was comparable to other projects based on such factors as cost, schedule and the ability to address the reliability concerns, the Hope Creek-Red Lion 500-kV line was superior in terms of constructability.
Seriously, PJM? Who's giving you advice about "constructability?" The same geniuses who thought PATH and MAPP were good ideas? Those two projects turned out not to be so "constructable" after all, and have left PJM ratepayers footing a bill for more than $350M for projects that never even put a shovel in the ground!
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities said PJM’s analysis of the 500-kV option underestimated likely public opposition.
Ya think? Just because the new transmission line parallels an existing one does NOT mean that affected landowners will welcome it with open arms. In fact, these landowners already know what it's like to live with a transmission line across their land, and feel they have already made the ultimate sacrifice for "the public good." They will NOT want another one, and will fight tooth and nail to kill this project.
And, guess what? They'll have plenty of help from other transmission opposition groups that have perfected the art of public opposition. After all, we've had some of the best teachers in the world to show us all the ins and outs of transmission project strategy, and we like to "pay it forward."
So, if you're a landowner in Salem County, New Jersey, who already has a 500kV transmission line in your backyard, check out the map at RTO Insider to see if you're one of "the chosen." I am looking forward to meeting you!
Our friends at Clean Line have been as busy as a nasty nest of yellow jackets this past week, while I was tied up with other things. So, on this beautiful Sunday, let's hunker down around the campfire and catch up on some scary stories...
My multilingual, Arkansan friend, Doc, alerted me to an interesting discovery this week. Clean Line's project manager for its Plains & Eastern "Clean" Line, slated to plow through Arkansas like Godzilla on his way to Tokyo, is a Mr. Mario Hurtado. In the Spanish language, the word "hurtado" means "to steal." So, Clean Line is sending out some guy named "to steal" to... ummm... steal land from Arkansans. Brilliant! Perhaps Clean Line watches too many old movies and expected its opponents in Arkansas to behave like movie characters...
...and not like multilingual PhD's.
So... Arkansas... Beware the Hurtado!
My friend Doc says he looks like this:
Meanwhile, in other "Clean" news from Arkansas...
"Clean" Line has submitted a second application for negotiated rate authority from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
I guess their first one wasn't good enough, since they didn't even bother to mention it in their new filing. So, inquiring minds want to know... is "Clean" Line just stupid, or are they trying to pull something on FERC?
Negotiated rate authority is no big thing, though. It simply bangs out a plan for the company to negotiate rates with potential customers in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion. It doesn't get them any customers. It is not an "approval" of the project. FERC's only authority over this project is ensuring its rate structure is fair. FERC has no authority over the siting and permitting of this project. Big deal, Mr. To Steal.
And, news from Missouri...
"Clean" Line has been quoting industry-influenced WHO studies as "proof" that their transmission projects will have no health effects on nearby residents. However, a well-respected, local physician has been compiling and reviewing medical research on the health risks of the proposed "Clean" Line. The Moberly Monitor did an indepth report about what Dr. Smith has found. Shocking and dangerous! Dr. Smith's findings are a MUST READ for every person in proximity to one of these "Clean" Lines.
Other news outlets have also picked up on Dr. Smith's EMF research, and the truth is spreading like wildfire! SeeABC News, the News Democrat, and about 18 other major news outlets.
"Clean" Line needs to finish watching the movie that they've been using as the basis for their arrogant expectations of the intelligence and cunning of their local opposition. They must not have watched far enough to see this scene yet:
Electric utilities… are seen by many investors as a sturdy and defensive subset of the investment grade universe. Over the next few years, however, we believe that a confluence of declining cost trends in distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation and residential-scale power storage is likely to disrupt the status quo. Based on our analysis, the cost of solar + storage for residential consumers of electricity is already competitive with the price of utility grid power in Hawaii. Of the other major markets, California could follow in 2017, New York and Arizona in 2018, and many other states soon after.
We believe that solar + storage could reconfigure the organization and regulation of the electric power business over the coming decade.
We believe that sector spreads should be wider to compensate for the potential risk of regulator missteps and/or a permanent change in the utility business model.
Whether because of biases or analytical complexity, the market (and its constituent prognosticators) has tended to be late in pricing technology-driven shifts, particularly in industries that have had stable operating models (such as telcos and airlines).
It's high time for traditional electric utilities to get over their fear of the future and embrace the brave new world by making themselves relevant in this new paradigm. Regulatory campaigns to secure a revenue stream for stranded investment
will only be successful if they are based on reason and fairness, and if the utility makes an honest transition. Building more centralized infrastructure in the face of today's reality shouldn't be supported.
Likewise, distributed energy producers also need to base their regulatory arguments on reason and fairness. If your generator is going to be connected to the grid, you need to pay for it. Pretending that your net metering arrangement that may add up over time to net zero means that you shouldn't pay any of a utility's costs to maintain its infrastructure is unreasonable.
The real challenge here is putting the brakes on continued investment in centralized generation and transmission, and successful negotiation of a fair transition plan. Entrenchment and pitched battles over cost responsibility is just a waste of time. Let's get with it people... the future is here!
Would you trust this guy ?
Where's Waldo? He seems to have dropped out of the public eye, lately replaced by this other guy who smirks when he tells the people of Missouri that there are no health effects, no property devaluation, no impediments to farming.
Clean Line has a public relations problem. They're running out of project managers and executives.
Waldo (aka Mark Lawlor
) has been thoroughly trounced in the Missouri media by the forthright and personable Block GBE spokeswoman, Jennifer Gatrel. People like Jenny. They trust her. Can't say the same for the Clean Line representatives.
Because Grain Belt Express is in so much trouble in Missouri, Waldo has been replaced by Clean Line president Michael Skelly. Oh, brother! That's like putting out a fire with a bucket of gasoline! Where Waldo was awkward, uncaring and shifty, Skelly is arrogant, arrogant and arrogant
. This man simply doesn't care what you think. He gets an attitude when questioned, and provides flippant answers. Was "the President of Clean Line answering questions in Missouri" supposed to help or hurt the project?
Send this guy back to Skellyville, and bring on the next personality. Or maybe Clean Line could try some more costumes to cheer everyone up?
Whither goest thou, Waldo?
...recovery of costs associated with storm repairs from the 2012 Derecho and Hurricane Sandy, along with operating costs at power stations, including new environmental control equipment. In addition, the rate request includes hiring 50 new company employees to help enhance service reliability.
So, how much is this going to cost you?
Currently, the monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours is about $92.62. If the proposed rate increase, including the cost of the new tree trimming program, is granted, the monthly bill would be about $106.79.
But, wait! FirstEnergy wants you to know about all the value you're going to be getting!
Mon Power and Potomac Edison have not filed for an increase in base rates for nearly five years. The companies’ last major rate changes were a decrease in fuel-related rates of 5 percent on Jan. 1, 2013, and a rate reduction of 1.5 percent in October 2013 due to the Harrison acquisition.
Even with the full proposed increase and tree trimming surcharge, Mon Power and Potomac Edison residential rates would be 10 percent lower than the national average residential rates.
But, that's of little actual value when the company doesn't bother to read your electric meter for months on end and then sends you a gigantic bill for your accumulated usage once a year. Don't worry though...
To help customers manage their bills, Mon Power and Potomac Edison offer an average payment plan, special payment plans, and access to energy assistance programs.
Just hop on the ol' FirstEnergy debt treadmill and run for your life!
Oh, and let's not forget... that extra $96M out of your pockets will now guarantee you better service!
“The filing will help ensure continued safe and reliable electric generation for our customers,” said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia Operations. “On the utility side of our operations, the new employees will include linemen, engineers, supervisors and other personnel to help make the service we provide our customers even better and meet anticipated business growth in our state.”
Here we go again with the Clean Line news articles full of misinformation. This time, the lies are about the company's Plains & Eastern Clean Line project in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Hiding amid the lies and half-truths is one nugget of news, however. Clean Line is now purporting that it will build a $100M HVDC converter station in Arkansas in an attempt to provide some "benefit" for the state. In 2011, the Arkansas PSC denied Clean Line's application to become a public utility in the state so that it could use eminent domain to take land for its project against the owners' will. The APSC based its denial on the lack of benefits to the state from the transmission line, that Clean Line proposed would begin and end in other states like a highway with no on or off ramps for local use.
Claims that the company will build a converter station for local use seem to be sprouting like weeds. But, what guarantee does any state have that Clean Line would actually build one? If it receives a permit, Clean Line could once again change its plans, taking the local converter station off the table, laughing all the way to the bank.
The midpoint converter stations are very expensive and only plan to make available a miniscule portion of the project's capacity. For the 3500 MW Grain Belt Express, the converter station is being touted as making "up to" 500 MW available. For the Plains & Eastern project, this article says the converter station will make available "up to" 250 MW of the project's 3500 MW capacity. The rest of the capacity is slated to be made available to eastern states where electricity commands a higher price. And that's how Clean Line intends to make its money -- selling electricity in richer markets that have certain minimal renewable energy purchase requirements. These "public policy" renewable portfolio standards require load serving entities in eastern states to generate or purchase a certain percentage of renewable energy, no matter the cost. This is the market Clean Line is desperately trying to reach.
So, let's think about that. Clean Line is pretending it will "make available" miniscule amounts of its capacity in pass-through states in exchange for the ability to take private property from the state's citizens. "Make available" means exactly that -- make available for purchase by load serving entities in states like Arkansas or Missouri. However, if local LSEs can purchase lower cost power, they must do so. Clean Line is priced for the east coast, not Missouri or Arkansas. While the wind power generated in the Midwest may be "cheap" by east coast standards, building a "Clean" Line to transport it more than doubles the delivered price of the electricity. Chances are no local load serving entities will contract to purchase ANY of this power, obviating the need for any mid-point converter stations after permits are granted. Don't be fooled!
Don't be fooled by the article's misinformation either. Here's where the reporter (or the president of Clean Line) got the information wrong:
The project, called the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, won’t break ground until 2016, but the company behind it — Clean Line Energy Partners — announced this month that it would build a $100 million convertor station along the line’s route, somewhere in central Arkansas.
But as initially planned, the project would have had little effect on Arkansans beyond creating some jobs through the construction period. The line traveled from Oklahoma east through Arkansas, but Clean Line’s electricity wouldn’t have stopped in Arkansas along the way.
This was the basis of the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s 2011 denial of Clean Line’s attempt to be recognized as a utility in the state. Becoming a utility would have meant the company could have used eminent domain in creating the route for its new lines.
However, that changed when Skelly announced the convertor station at this month’s Little Rock Sustainability Summit at the Clinton Presidential Library.
This project won't "break ground" until it is fully permitted, and obtaining permits is still highly speculative. Just because Clean Line has tried to create a smokescreen of "benefit" for Arkansas does not automatically buy them a permit.
A spokesman for the company said the station “was a significant change in the scope of the project” that was “not initially intended” for it, noting that it was expressly requested by the PSC and by landowners.
WTF, Clean Line? No landowner ever requested a converter station in Arkansas. The few landowners who knew about your project rejected it in totality.
Clean Line is a private transmission company in Houston. It develops projects that connect renewable generation points between states.
The Plains & Eastern project is one of five Clean Line transmission projects underway in the country, and the only one that passes through Arkansas.
The new line would mean many new customers for the company.
Clean Line only exists on paper. This start-up has never built anything and probably never will. It has no customers... at all. The company has signed an agreement to allow its biggest investor, European transmission giant National Grid, to purchase the entire collection of projects in the pre-construction phase. If Clean Line can spin enough lies to get a handful of permits, it absconds with a bundle of cash and a new company takes over ownership of any projects. Research on Clean Line's principals reveals a history of exactly this kind of behavior. Many of Clean Line's management, who have personally invested in the company, have a history of building wind energy companies and then flipping them for huge profit. They probably should have stayed in their own area of expertise because they're in way over their heads playing transmission company.
It has been in the works for the past half-decade and will build two lines intended to connect the Midwest’s wind resources to surrounding areas with less potential to generate wind, such as Missouri and southern Indiana. About 7,000 megawatts of power in Oklahoma would become available to surrounding states.
Actually, that 7,000 MW plan for two lines got scrapped several years ago as overly ambitious. Or, did it?
“Because this is an interstate project, it has to go through the federal permitting process,” Skelly said. “We’re in the middle of that [process]. What it basically does is look at a series of routes, and we take all that information which our different stakeholders use to come up with a route.”
There is no requirement for federal permitting just because a project is "interstate." Transmission permitting is state jurisdictional. A project must receive a permit from every state through which it passes. Except when a state denies a permit... then a transmission owner can attempt to preempt local authority to take advantage of a couple of arcane loopholes in the 2005 Energy Policy Act
. It is only then that federal permitting becomes necessary. And still, the federal authority Clean Line is attempting to acquire only gives it the power of eminent domain. It does not anoint Clean Line with state utility status to build a project. We'll just assume that the U.S. Department of Energy is going to take on the role of transmission builder for this project and then re-sell it back to Clean Line after it's constructed, right?
A lot of the job, he said, is getting the word out about the job to county officials, state agencies and environmental groups to determine the route of the line.
“Because this is an interstate project, it has to go through the federal permitting process,” Skelly said. “We’re in the middle of that [process]. What it basically does is look at a series of routes, and we take all that information which our different stakeholders use to come up with a route.”
Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy is working with states and local agencies to gather input on the line’s proposed route.
The permitting process overall, Skelly said, is expected to conclude in spring 2015.
“We hope to break ground in a year after that — at some point in 2016,” he said. “This is like any large infrastructure project. It takes a long time to work through the issues and come up with a proper design and take into account the stakeholders’ interests. These things take a long time. As things go, we’re moving at a reasonable pace.”
So, when is Clean Line planning to consult the landowners about the route of its line? Because landowners, in Clean Line's world, aren't stakeholders. They're just the folks who have to sacrifice their properties for Clean Line's profit.
No matter. The landowners aren't waiting to be invited. As my friend Joel says in the article's comments:
"Clean" Line is intent upon getting eminent domain authority. That's why their plan has changed to include the central Arkansas converter station. The company wants to force Arkansas landowners and homeowners to allow huge transmission towers on their property. This is a private venture, backed by a few out-of-state billionaires. They refuse to acknowledge that these towers will lower the property value of the landowners and homeowners. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that property values will plummet where a 200' steel lattice tower is constructed. So the out-of-state billionaires make huge profits while Arkansas landowners and homeowners lose real estate equity. It can't happen without state or federal eminent domain authority. I think of it like armed robbery, but in this case the robbers don't have to hold the guns. They will have state or federal law enforcement holding the gun to the heads of Arkansas landowners and homeowners.
While Dominion has been doing a great job with directly affected landowners, the company has completely failed to disseminate any information about its project to the greater community. As if folks don't notice the access roads, the helicopters, the construction traffic, the road closures, the implosive splicing... I've gotten mighty tired of having to reassure people that this is not the PATH project, that this is a permitted activity, and that the world is not exploding. But I do it, not for Dominion, but for the people who are the victims of Dominion's "secret" rebuild project.
Mt. Storm - Doubs (MSD) is a smarter, better solution than building the PATH project ever was. So, let's get 'er done, fellas, so that I can stop having this distraction sitting on the edge of a rather full plate
The MSD transmission line begins in Mt. Storm, West Virginia
and ends at the Doubs substation in Frederick County, Maryland. The 96 miles of the line located in West Virginia and Virginia are owned by Dominion. The last 3 miles of the line in Maryland are owned by FirstEnergy. Each company is responsible for permitting and constructing its own segment of this project. Dominion has been working on its portion of the project for more than 4 years. FirstEnergy only recently got off it's corporate ass to do its part on the last three miles.
Well, yay, FirstEnergy! You da man! Fourteen transmission towers and 3 miles of line?
Awesome! Put Toad Meyers in a hardhat and push the "on" button. That should ameliorate your billing and meter reading fiasco, right?
Back in 2010, while the PATH was still madly attempting to get it's 300 mile, 765kV transmission line sited and permitted
on new right of way, Dominion dropped a bombshell on transmission planner PJM Interconnection
. Dominion proposed several alternatives to the PATH project (which was never actually "needed"). One of the alternatives involved rebuilding MSD because of deteriorating towers. A rebuilt and modernized MSD would increase the thermal capacity of the existing line 66% and make the addition of PATH's capacity unnecessary. Both PJM and PATH partners FirstEnergy and AEP tried to deny the proposal and insist that PATH was still necessary
. That was the beginning of the end for PATH. The Virginia SCC got mighty suspicious
and ordered PJM to re-run some data on the necessity for PATH if MSD was rebuilt. Low and behold, the data showed that there really wasn't a need for PATH after all and PJM suspended (and later cancelled) the PATH project. PATH withdrew all its project applications and went into hiding, after wasting a quarter billion dollars of consumer funding on the project.
Ahhh... good times! :-)
Now FirstEnergy says "look at me!" and give me credit for modernizing the electric grid.
Kind of makes you wish that someone would drop a load of insulators on Toad's hard hat, doesn't it?
Oh, what would I do if I didn't have this little outlet...