PATH power line could be back on track this summer
Don't blame the reporter, it looks like the title of the article that was not used by her editor was the more realistic, "Future of PATH power line could be decided this summer."
Does Herling actually say that PATH will be needed? No. In fact, most of what he says points to PATH not being needed. New generation is planned for the east coast, coal prices are up, gas prices are down, prices have levelized, the bottom has fallen out of the Ohio Valley power generation market, east coast states are pursuing renewables and PATH's parent companies clearly aren't interested in the project any longer. He drones on and on about PJM's new planning process, but none of what he says is news. In the practice of what Bill has termed "PATH Kremlinology," we've been keeping you informed of the little puzzle pieces we dig up and fit together. Stay tuned while we see this one through.
We first got wind of the supposed "summer" decision about PATH from the letter PATH sent to the NPS asking to have the EIS held in continued abeyance until 60 days after PJM's RPM auction in May. None of that has changed.
Herling isn't exactly known as a "transparent" source of information, however. When Dominion presented the rebuild of the Mt. Storm - Doubs 500kV line to PJM, our pal Herling tried like mad to sweep it under the rug or delay it unnecessarily. He lost that battle. MSD is proceeding with an in service date of 2015.
So, why would an impartial planner be in the pocket of the PATH companies? Here's a little "transparency" for you, taken from one of Herling's many expert testimonies for the PATH Project:
"Prior to that, I worked for the American Electric Power Service Corporation for eight years in bulk transmission planning."
Okay, so that explains Herling.
It probably also explains this glaring departure from reality that I noticed in the 2011 RTEP last night.
In Book 3 of the 2011 RTEP, PJM makes the following statement about PATH's "abeyance" as it was announced in early 2011:
"Additional sensitivity analysis performed on a 2017 study year case examined the impacts on the need for PATH abeyance from Warren County Generation, a Global Insights load forecast, RPS initiatives, at risk generation and State DR/EE goals."
What's missing? Dominion's MSD rebuild - the ultimate grim reaper for the PATH project.
Here's what PJM says about MSD:
"Baseline RTEP studies conducted in 2010 indicated that the Mt. Storm - Doubs line would continue to be a limiting system element even after major backbone additions like TrAIL and PATH were completed. Consequently, the PJM Board approved PJM’s recommendation to add the rebuild to the PJM RTEP as an operational performance upgrade."
But here's the testimony PATH presented to the VA-SCC on March 17, 2011 regarding PJM's additional analysis requested by the hearing examiner:
"When the upgrade is completed, the Mt. Storm-Doubs line, the first two lines on this slide, the carrying capacity of that line will be increased about 66 percent. And so, that will move out the thermal violations shown in the base case well into the decade of the 2020's."
Herling has always been in denial about MSD. He also rules his little fiefdom like the lunatic patriarch of a dysfunctional family.
"As we work through 2012 … I think will fill in the blanks for what other factors we will consider and how we will weigh them when we are making decisions," he said.
Transparent? Hardly. But, will the PATH project become "needed" again this summer? I suppose anything is possible when you're dealing with a cockamamie, clandestine cartel, but it's probably unlikely. This doesn't mean you should forget about PATH and staying involved in continued opposition, though. It's always possible that the zombie could rise from the grave until it is officially abandoned.