Susquehanna Roseland is one of four transmission lines dreamed up as part of PJM Interconnection's 2005 Project Mountaineer, a scheme to transport 5000 MW of coal-fired electric generation from the Ohio Valley to the Eastern Seaboard. This plan was a money-making conspiracy between coal companies, coal-dependent generators such as Allegheny Energy (now FirstEnergy) and American Electric Power, PJM Interconnection, and West Virginia Governor (now Senator) Joe Manchin, along with other politicians, and FERC officials.
The New Jersey BPU and Attorney General filed comments last week on FERC's Promoting Transmission Investment Through Pricing Reform. In their comments, they finally admit the truth, which opponents of Susquehanna Roseland and other Project Mountaineer transmission lines have been contending from the beginning:
"The NJ BPU, however, is concerned that while
new transmission lines delivering mostly coal-powered electricity from older plants may reduce
the delivered cost of power, they do so at the cost of increased air emissions from these older,
less efficient plants."
And now New Jersey wants to get tough:
"Coal plants produce a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that impact New Jersey. While coal plants have historically provided reliable electrical service and have balanced the technology mix of generation resources in New Jersey, coal is a major source of CO2 emissions and, therefore, New Jersey will no longer accept dirty coal as a new source of power for the State."
The NJ BPU finally sees the light:
"The NJBPU submits that building clean generation can eliminate or lessen the need for new transmission lines and upgrades, and therefore, on March 29, 2011, the Board awarded contracts under its Long Term Capacity Agreement Pilot Program ("LCAPP") to three CC generators."
However, the coal-dependent generators, PJM and FERC are fighting them all the way. This is because a self-reliant New Jersey power market cuts into the profit margins of FirstEnergy and American Electric Power.
New Jersey finally realizes that its captivity to the industry-favoring decisions of FERC-endorsed PJM are what keeps electricity prices artificially high for their consumers. PJM is a transmission planner, therefore all "problems" have transmission solutions, even when cheaper, smarter solutions are readily at hand.
"The NJ BPU notes that federal incentives to encourage
the development and construction of new transmission facilities to address reliability issues that utilize state-of-the art technologies is encouraged by and acceptable to the Commission, but, efforts to encourage the development of new state-of-the-art, efficient, environmentally friendly gas-fired generation to address reliability needs through incentives has been thwarted and impeded by the Commission by its recent ruling on the Minimum Offer Pricing Rule ("MOPR"),which specifically discriminates against this technology.
"There are, however, other ways besides simply building new transmission lines to address these potential reliability issues and the related congestion costs created by load pockets."
Looks like the state of New Jersey has finally had enough of the PJM cartel's heavy-handed, self-interested control of their energy future. Will Susquehanna Roseland's approval be overturned on appeal? Denial of a new coal-fired electric transmission line into New Jersey in favor of new, in-state, gas-fired generation solutions would be just desserts for FE, AEP, PJM and FERC. It would also put New Jersey back in the driver's seat in setting their own smart energy policy, lower electricity prices for New Jersey consumers and give a nod toward a cleaner environment.
American Electric Power, FirstEnergy, PJM Interconnection and FERC ought to be embarrassed by the boldness of their Project Mountaineer conspiracy, which is on record as a FERC technical conference held on May 13, 2005 in Charleston, West Virginia.
Maybe other states will wake up and join New Jersey in their insurrection against the FERC-endorsed stranglehold of PJM on their energy markets. FERC's recent federal transmission siting power grab certainly isn't making them any friends at the state level.