PJM’s first competitive transmission project under FERC Order 1000 attracted proposals from five utilities and three independent developers.
The proposals – to correct stability issues at Artificial Island, home of the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants, in Hancocks Bridge N.J. – ranged from a new 230 kV line and station (estimated cost $54 million) to two new 500 kV lines (a projected $1.5 billion price tag).
RTO Insider provides a run down of the proposals and a link to the July 10 PJM TEAC slide deck with more details and maps of each proposal (beginning on page 61). I'm loving the way that RTO Insider makes the job of babysitting PJM so much easier for me! No more random, inconvenient urges to go wade through PJM's webmaze to see what's new, and then going through all the trouble of running my find through the geek translator. RTO Insider does all that for you! Go get yourself a subscription now... because if you don't, I may know something you don't.
According to the RTO Insider's proposal list, all the proposals for Artificial Island include new transmission lines of various sizes.
It's just colorful lines on a map right now, isn't it? It looks like someone at PJM had fun with their mouse and an RGB color chart, drawing proposed transmission lines across Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.
Reality Check: Each one of those lines runs through hundreds or thousands of backyards. Real people, real property, real lives. Will PJM spend any time contemplating the people whose way of life they are blithely sacrificing for the needs of others? Will PJM consider the likelihood of opposition, environmental considerations, land values, or the welfare of affected individuals when choosing the winning proposal? Will PJM notify the affected communities that there is a problem that needs to be solved by building new transmission lines in their area? Will PJM consult with the communities to allow those possibly affected by the new project to weigh in on the proposal that is selected?
Of course not! What do you think this is, a transparent democracy? PJM will make its selection based on cost, or engineering, or other considerations (like which transmission company schmoozes best). And then the winning bidder will begin planning their project and greasing the proper palms, carefully keeping their plans under wraps until they are ready to pull the rip cord and hold their public "open houses." At that point, the transmission owner tells the people that the mysterious, unseen, regional transmission authority has ordered the company to build this project across the peoples' land and that there's nothing the transmission owner or the people can do about it. The transmission owner's hands are tied and the peoples' fate is sealed! What a load of crap!
These front-loaded fait accompli approaches never work. The people will always want to backtrack to where the decision to build the transmission line was made in the first place. They want to determine for themselves that there truly is no other option. Meanwhile, the transmission owner pours buckets of ratepayer cash into astroturf front groups, dishonest TV commercials, smarmy land agents, political palm greasing, and celebrity spokeswhores, trying to convince the people, and ultimately the state regulators, that the project really is needed.
There's got to be a better way.
Good luck with that, PJM.
Residents of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey -- we'll get to know each other real soon, won't we? *sigh*