Fact is, all PJM ratepayers have been financing multiple incentive-driven projects ever since FERC issued Order No. 679 in 2006. We've even picked up the costs of "pre-commercial" expenses like setting up the PATH shell companies.
We've paid for the Susquehanna-Roseland project, the TrAIL project (including abandoned segments, with interest), the MAPP project and the PATH project. This represents billions of dollars of extra expense in your electric bill, and millions of dollars of profit for the power company developers. It might not be so bad if consumers were getting some benefit from these projects, but the only one even close to completion is TrAIL. Susquehanna-Roseland and MAPP are stalled for different reasons, and PATH has been "suspended." However, the developers continue to spend money and earn a return for these white elephants.
This is what FERC's NOI on "Promoting Transmission Investment Through Pricing Reform" of May 19 is all about. Let FERC know what you think by submitting your comments.
But, back to the article (you need to slap me off my soapbox every once in a while). The NJ Sierra Club also tips the reporter off to the fact that the Atlantic backbone is also capable of carrying coal-fired power from Virginia to New Jersey. Bill had this one figured out last year, so it's nothing new. Why else do you think Dominion all of a sudden wanted to get off the bench and enter the game with its MSD rebuild? This leads to an overarching thought on FERC's NOI -- how many of these "badly needed" transmission projects could easily be solved by modernizing, upgrading and rebuilding existing transmission lines at a much cheaper cost, with less regulatory uncertainty, and much quicker than new projects like PATH, TrAIL, MAPP and S-R? When Dominion wanted to make PATH go away, it was quickly and easily accomplished. This question is sort of alluded to in a backhanded way in the NOI, so keep it in mind when you submit your comments.
And about the NOI -- FERC makes this statement: "The Commission believes that there remains a need for additional transmission investment to ensure the reliable operation of the grid and reduce the cost of delivered power by reducing transmission congestion." And then there's nothing to back it up. On what do they base this "belief" that more and bigger transmission is the best way to proceed? In reality, more and more people are investing in self-reliance and getting off the grid by installing their own solar or wind systems. This is our future, not continued reliance on the old transmission dinosaur that's sadly out-of-date. In his statement accompanying the NOI, Commissioner Moeller states, "By building needed transmission, our electrical service can maintain reliability at levels that are the envy of the world...". Envy of the world? The rest of the world laughs at us and our continued dependence on fossil fuels and failure to embrace renewables and new technology by relying on the long distance transmission dinosaur. The rest of the world is quickly leaving us in the dust!
Anyhow (there I go again) read the linked article, and also check out some of Tom Johnson's other articles to get a good perspective on New Jersey's energy dilemmas.