"According to the Edison Electric Institute, shareholder-owned electric utilities and stand-alone transmission companies for the first time in 2010 surpassed the $10 billion mark for a yearly investment in transmission infrastructure. Spending on transmission increased nine percent from 2009 to 2010, EEI reported. Utilities and others are expected to invest $54 billion on transmission between 2011 and 2014, a 43 percent increase over transmission investment during the previous four-year period, 2007-2010, EEI reported."
That's because transmission is a tidy profit center for investor-owned utilities. In return for their investment, these companies earn an immediate, guaranteed double-digit return on equity courtesy of federal transmission incentives and formula rates, even if the projects they invest in never get built!
While the CFTP makes some good points about broad socialization of transmission costs, the wisdom and ultimate cost of a "national grid" build out to support on-shore wind, and federal control of transmission siting and permitting, it's pretty hard to take them seriously or to want to support their "coalition."
That's because their membership (bankrollers) is composed of some of the worst perpetrators of the same bad policies they denounce. For instance, member PSE&G is currently gouging over 60 million ratepayers throughout the 13-state PJM region for their unneeded Susquehanna-Roseland Project, as well as multiple other transmission projects they are undertaking. If Susquehanna-Roseland had to be paid for solely by the ratepayers that benefit from it, it would not be cost effective. S-R will purportedly reduce electric costs in New Jersey and load centers located at its eastern terminus. According to CFTP, that's who should pay for the entire line. Instead, PJM's cost recovery policy socialized PSE&G's cost across their entire region. If we believe that S-R will reduce prices in New Jersey, we also accept the fact that S-R will increases prices to the west of it's starting point. This "levelizing" of prices within the region is what PJM's screwed up markets promote. Why is it that ratepayers who bear the direct brunt of proximity to "cheaper" generation must not only pay the cost of new transmission to make electricity cheaper for other load centers without enough generation to support their needs, but also have the prices they pay for electricity raised by the ultimate "benefit" of these same transmission projects? This is the bad logic that PJM has been getting away with for years with their destructive "markets."
CFTP is just another corporate-funded "coalition." These "coalitions" always have ulterior motives because, let's face it, corporations aren't in the "warm & fuzzy" business of helping consumers. They exist to turn a profit every quarter. Every expenditure is geared toward increasing those profits. So, while their "coalition" has some good arguments, they're also a bunch of hypocrites.