Wrong. AWC has faced hurdle after hurdle tossed in its path by regulators and competing transmission interests. They're all crying boo hoo about how this is going to cost too much. Instead, these same regulators have plunked down over 2 billion dollars on the unneeded Susquehanna Roseland transmission project in New Jersey, designed to increase the transfer of both nuclear and coal-fired electricity from the Ohio Valley to New Jersey's east coast. We've also financed the more than a billion dollar TrAILCo transmission project, designed to do the same thing by importing western resources into the Washington, D.C. suburbs. Most heinously, these same regulators and regional planners have also wasted approximately half a billion dollars of consumer cash on the failed PATH and MAPP transmission projects that were never built (also designed to move power from west to east). If we add all this up, we're probably in the ball park of what it would have cost to build AWC three years ago, instead of the failed Project Mountaineer.
And east coast regulators and the PJM cartel still struggle to waste consumer cash on generation subsidies, public policy requirements, market efficiency project windows, inter-regional import/export battles and other dumb ideas designed to maintain historical west to east power flows, all while shoving AWC under the bus again and again. Why? Is it because AWC would take market share from all these competing interests? Or maybe AWC just isn't a member of the PJM good ol' boys club? Or maybe it's both.
I came across a story the other day announcing that AWC is "shifting its goal to moving electricity across New Jersey instead of connecting offshore wind farms."
The new plan is called the New Jersey Power (or Energy?) Link and is a $1.8B project "[b]uried under the ocean floor and running the length of the coastline, the New Jersey Energy Link will bring power to shore at three locations serving southern, central and northern New Jersey. When complete, it will be capable of carrying 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind and conventional electricity generated in New Jersey – enough to power more than 1 million homes."
This new "focus" will reduce high energy prices in northern New Jersey by "...mov[ing] power from southern New Jersey to the northern part of the state where energy prices are higher." It's no longer about offshore wind or renewables. Seems like AWC has thrown in the towel on "saving the environment" for the time being, and who could blame them? The big green groups who are busy sucking on the teats of midwest wind and transmission interests have made it clear that they're not interested in offshore wind.
Of course, this now means that AWC is going to be looking for regionally allocated, PJM-ordered, consumer financing for its project, instead of the merchant (self-funded) project it was originally intended to be.
And what do the regulators say about that?
“For us, it’s generally about cost effectiveness,” said New Jersey Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand. “It’s hard for us to support a project like this” because there are less expensive options."
I'm starting to see why AWC might be just a little frustrated by now.
AWC has changed its website and tactics. It sort of looks like they copied our "friends" at Clean Line. Check out the "Supply Chain" graphics here. The handshake and pencil graphics look a lot like these, don't they? There's also a whole bunch of jobs, jobs, jobs stuff and other claims of dubious merit that look pretty familiar. However, AWC doesn't have "a bunch of ticked off farmers" barking at its heels and tossing banana peels in its path. How much do you think opposition costs? It's getting more and more expensive every day.
Every landowner between here and the midwest ought to be lining up to support AWC, instead of the snarl of expensive, uncoordinated "renewable" transmission lines from land based wind farms that's currently being proposed. And every state government on the east coast needs to make a decision -- offshore wind and economic development at home, or sending your energy dollars out of state for imported and unreliable "renewable" energy? Short term cost decisions may not be wise or sustainable over the long term.
What we don't need, however, is AWC and a whole bunch of western "renewables," which is what we may get if AWC is used only as a new north-south transmission "superhighway" as currently proposed. AWC claims it's not a "build it and they will come" project. Right, fellas ;-)