Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said his group "will definitely oppose" the section in that state.
Tittel said the Sierra Club's opposition is "absolutely" a challenge to the existing business model for utilities, which often rely on far-off plants to send power into populated areas.
Tittel said the PPL proposal is like "frack by wire" because the proposed route across northern Pennsylvania would encourage new power plants fueled by hydraulically fractured Marcellus Shale gas.
Tom Schuster, a regional Sierra Club representative, said the group hasn't taken a position on the entire project because there are still too many unknowns.
Environmentalists who testified said they support the [Grain Belt Express] plan. James Harmon of Kirksville, a member of the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s Missouri Chapter, said it would help Missouri and other states meet the new federal goals for reducing carbon emissions.
This is what happens when your policies are hypocritical. Either you like big new transmission "for wind" (and everything else they carry), or you don't. There are no "electron police" standing by to keep dirty electrons off new transmission lines.
So, how does Sierra Club want to plan our electric grid? This is what happens when you let a bunch of "public policy" wonks have a seat at the table. It doesn't sound like there's any real plan at work here.
Meanwhile, equally silly arguments about "mine mouth" gas plants hijack the reporter's attention:
Jay Apt, director of the Carnegie Mellon University Electricity Industry Center, said that enormous natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale has led to significantly cheaper wholesale prices in areas of drilling. In other words, a power plant could produce electricity cheaply in Pennsylvania and a utility could transmit it to places with higher electric prices, such as Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.
PJM Interconnection of Audubon, Pennsylvania, which oversees wholesale electric demand for 61 million customers in a 13-state mid-Atlantic region, has said that the electric grid is "undergoing an extraordinary transformation" as coal-fired plants retire.
PJM could approve all, part, or none of the PPL plan, but regulators agree that the region needs transmission upgrades to ensure reliable and affordable electric service. Allentown-based PPL said the line would take about a decade to build.
PJM spokesman Ray Dotter said it's like a huge version of the dilemma many individuals face: Is the most effective thing to buy a new car, or fix the old one you have?
The PPL plan is like the new car choice. PJM will review the proposal and is likely to vote on it in November or December, and is also considering numerous smaller projects from other utilities.
Then Tittel says something sensible:
"We have better places to invest our energy money" in or near in New Jersey, Tittel said, such as offshore wind, solar, and energy efficiency projects. He added that if money was spent in those ways "you wouldn't need the power line."
But, just in case the Sierra Club simply continues to flap its arms ineffectually and contradict itself, the citizens of the affected states will most likely be the REAL opposition that kills PPL's transmission project.
The citizens have each other's back, because they can't count on organizations like the Sierra Club to deliver a coherent message about new electric transmission.
We always show up to get the job done!
So, with that in mind, PJM wants to hear your comments about "Project Compass." Tell them what you think.