January 28th, 2010

And did I mention we got a new doggy?  She’s from Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue, was fostered way way out on Long Island, and before that, Georgia, where she was rescued from a kill shelter in the nick of time.  This dog is the sweetest, lickingest little wiggle-butt, despite the Rescue’s concerns, she is NOT an aggressive dog, doesn’t have that GSD looking-askance edge to her.  She was supposed to be dog aggressive, but when we went to meet her, with Ken, they squabbled a bit at first and next thing you know, there’s Kady, jumping in the van ready to go.  Dog aggressive… right… here she is with Ken:




And yes, Kady can sit up, stand, run, but lately, Ken doesn’t really do any of that, needs help to get outside and spends most of the day reclining on her doggybed eating bon-bons, well, carrots and “sawdust bones” and having Azodyl stuffed down her gullet, all considered, she’s doing well, and Kady likes to keep her company, but yes, she can and does get around a bit:


And if you want to hear her howl, sing this!!

K-K-K-Kady, beautiful Kady,
You’re the only g-g-g-girl that I adore;
When the m-m-m-moon shines,
Over the cowshed,
I’ll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door.
K-K-K-Kady, beautiful Kady,
You’re the only g-g-g-girl that I adore;
When the m-m-m-moon shines,
Over the cowshed,
I’ll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door.

Susquehanna-Roseland reopened!

January 27th, 2010


The Susquehanna-Roseland hearing has been reopened.  And off we got to FERC.  It’s been quite a hectic week, with a “flurry” of filings, and here’s the update.  First, remember the NJ BPUat a special 1/15 meeting said they were NOT going to decide on PSE&G’s Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line and said they’d be asking for more information from PJM.  Well, they asked PJM to answer a few questions (though not specific enough, not the right questions):

BPU Secretary letter to PJM

Here’s what PJM had to say:

PJM Letter in response to BPU Query

Suffice it to say, the letter is … ahem… INSUFFICIENT!

And then the responses started coming in, first the Municipal Intervenors, then :

Municipal Intervenors response to PJM Letter

Environmental Intervenors – January 25, 2010

Stop The Lines! January 25, 2010

And the BPU issued an Order reopening the docket and first scheduled a hearing for February 2, 2010, and then THANKFULLY changed it to February 4, 2010:

BPU Scheduling Order Jan 25, 2010

BPU Amended Scheduling Order Jan 26, 2010

The concept is that PJM is coming in as a witness regarding the assertions of their January 21, 2010 bullshit letter, and what does that mean?  Is Steve Herling THE witness, or are there others?  Is whatever witness/es coming with a truckload of exhibits that they’ll dump on us the day of the hearing?  Is he going to be prepared in any way to back up his conclusory and unsupported statements?  So I fired off a couple missives, first Discovery to get the requests in quick and let them be on the record of ignoring or refusing to answer, and then a letter to the BPU with my view of the fine mess we’re in:

STL Discovery re: PJM Letter 1/21/10

STL Letter to BPU 1/25/10

As a sidebar, the escrow that PSE&G had to put out for the Municipal Intervenors is gone, this has been an intense case, and so they’re reasonably asking for more:

Municipal Intervenors – Motion for Escrow

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, remember that great 7th Circuit decision tossing out the cost allocation for this project?  Everything’s been up in the air since then, because if they can’t settle how they’re going to allocate the costs, this sucker won’t be built:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC – August 6, 2009

It was remanded to FERC and after some wrangling, just like in the BPU case, where the utilities were saying, “It’s all there in the record, you don’t need anything more to make a separate decision” and Illinois said quite succinctly, “AHEM, WE DON”T THINK SO!” and FERC issued an Order stating that the record was not sufficient, needed more information and directed PJM to provide some information and also provided some questions for parties to mull over in their comments:

FERC Order January 21, 2010

Here’s the fun part – what they asked PJM to provide (hee hee hee hee hee hee), starting on p. 5 of the above Order:

10. PJM should provide the following information:

A. The total costs that have been approved through PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) process for facilities that operate at or above 500 kV (and necessary lower voltage facilities), and whose costs are assigned pursuant to Opinion No. 494. For these projects, calculate the total costs that have been assigned to each PJM zone, and estimate the total costs that would be assigned to each zone using PJM’s DFAX methodology.

B. PJM manuals require that, in planning projects, it seek to optimize projects in order to reduce the cost of addressing individual reliability criteria. Describe how the optimization process is performed. Also, explain how PJM determines the relative priorities of resolving numerous reliability issues with one project. For 500 kV and above facilities, explain whether PJM could accurately determine the beneficiaries of a project that resolves numerous reliability issues using its DFAX methodology.

C. PJM’s most recent RTEP report (2008), at P 5 states that:
Baseline thermal and voltage analysis encompasses an exhaustive analysis of all Bulk Electric System (BES) facilities for compliance with NERC Category A (TPL-001), Category B (TPL-002) and Category C (TPL-003) events. In addition, consistent with NERC standards TPL-004, a number of extreme events including those judged to be critical from an operational perspective as well as those defined in Table I of TPL-004 were evaluated for risk and consequence to the system. Describe the types of anticipated reliability requirements addressed by the PJM RTEP (i.e., voltage, thermal, stability). Explain whether and how the DFAX analysis applies to the NERC reliability analyses listed above and any other reliability requirements. Explain whether the RTEP upgrades designed to address these reliability requirements also will address other reliability concerns. In particular, explain whether the geographic location or voltage level of an RTEP upgrade makes that upgrade more likely to address broader reliability concerns.
Provide any relevant studies.

D. In this proceeding, PJM recommended the adoption of a postage-stamp rate design for new 500 kV and above facilities.

1. Describe the benefits generated by such facilities that are not captured in the DFAX methodology used by PJM to allocate costs for lower voltage facilities. Indicate whether such lines provide reliability or economic benefits to the areas producing electricity.

2. Provide engineering or other studies showing any differences in regional benefits between 500 kV and lower voltage facilities (e.g., 345 kV
and 230 kV).

E. Provide any existing engineering or other studies that indicate whether the modeling assumptions used in the RTEP analysis, such as the direction of flow,
remain consistent or vary over time.

The Municipal Intervenors sent in a Motion to FERC, PSEG objected, and then Stop the Lines sent in a Motion for Limited Intervention:

Municipal Intervenors – Motion to Intervene

PSEG Response to Munis FERC Intervention

Stop The Lines! Motion for Limited Intervention

Municipal Intervenors – Renewal of Motion to Intervene

PSEG Response to STL Intervention Motion

PSEG’s response to our Motion to Intervene… yeah… (yawn)… what-ev-er…

And just now, hot off the press, the Municipal Intervenors have filed a Motion to Depose PJM’s Steven Herling!  Oh, yes, this is much needed, so we can get an idea where they’re going and what they plan to present (I doubt they’d produce the pre-filed testimony I requested!):

Municipal Intervenors Motion to Depose PJM’s Herling

As you can see, it’s been an intense few days, and isn’t letting off anytime soon.  More to follow as it develops.

9:30 a.m. on February 1, 2010

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN  55101

Remember the PUC’s docket that they opened after release of:

MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

Apparently they’re looking at doing something — and here’s what the staff Briefing Papers say:

Staff Briefing Papers – Feb 1, 2010 Meeting

Here’s how staff defines the issue before the PUC:

Should the Commission find that current permit conditions regarding setbacks remain appropriate and reasonable in light of recent concern and the Minnesota Department of Health’s White Paper, Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines?

And here’s the bottom line, what staff thinks should happen:

Staff recommends that the best approach to mitigate the issues discussed above would be comprised of two modifications to our current process.
1) Increase setbacks from non-participating landowner residences
a. Continue to use the existing 500-foot or noise standard residential setback (whichever is greater) to allow participating landowners to maximum their land use.
b. Increase the setback required from non-participating landowner residences to 1,000 feet or the state noise standard (whichever is greater) or some other number deemed appropriate by the Commission.
2) Require additional information from developers during the siting process to provide accurate and specific information to the Commission on the impacts of the project. Staff will continue to work on refining the specifics of these requests, additional information is anticipated to be (at a minimum, but could be subject to change):
a. During the application process:
I. noise modeling report (at different frequencies and at various distances from the turbines at various wind directions and speeds) throughout the project area;
II. if flicker is to occur on non-participating residences, shadow flicker modeling report, indicating anticipated maximum;
b. Preconstruction (submitted at time of final site layout):
I. final noise modeling report of final layout and noise monitoring proposal (both at different frequencies and at various distances from the turbines at various wind directions and speeds) throughout the project area;
II. final shadow flicker modeling report;
c. Post construction:
I. noise monitoring reports of the development (at different frequencies and at various distances from the turbines at various wind directions and speeds) throughout the project area.

To check out the whole docket and look at the various comments, CLICK HERE FOR PUC SEARCH PAGE , then scroll down a bit to the “Search” button and below that enter 09-845 and then click “Search.”  Voila, there it all is!

So, be there or be square.

9:30 a.m. on February 1, 2010

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN  55101

MID-Atlantic Power Pathway and all of PJM’s “backbone” projects in the news:


She’s worried about a larger line rising in the shadow of her house. If the poles somehow get knocked over, “Where’s that line going to fall? That line’s going to fall in my living room.

That’s Farah Morelli’s question.  She’s a regular person who woke up one day with a monstrously large transmission line planned literally in her back yard.  That’s usually the most effective way to get someone to learn about transmission.  It’s a steep learning curve, and what I’ve found in my work with people in the path of proposed transmission is that once they start looking, they find a disturbing fact:  Utilities propose transmission lines not because they’re “needed” but that they’re wanted, wanted to increase their ability to transmit and SELL cheap power in areas where it’s higher cost, and make a bundle in the process.  It’s not that people don’t have electricity (and high price is the best instigator of conservation), but it’s that people want more and want it cheaper and the utilities which make $$$ from that equation want to make it happen.

HERE’S THE REALITY — The PJM 2010 Load Forecast Report and the Monitoring Analytics “PJM 3Q State of the Market” report show that this market decline isn’t anything new and that it’s not going away anytime soon.  The PJM market peaked in 2006:


Today’s News Journal article is a start at pulling it all together, taking a look at the bigger picture, and that bigger picture is what these transmission lines are all about.  Three lines were proposed together, the Potomac Allegheny Transmission Highline (PATH), the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) and the Susquehanna-Roseland line.  These aren’t just transmission lines, they’re BIG HONKIN’ ELECTRICAL AUTOBAHNS, quad (or now maybe tri?) bundled 500kV lines.  Like WOW.  HUGE!

Here’s today’s article:

Lower energy projections put brakes on power lines

Economy, increased efficiency, carbon consciousness delay projects

By AARON NATHANS • The News Journal • January 24, 2010

It was Delaware’s electric doomsday scenario: Living room lights would go dark unless Delmarva Power could import electricity to a growing population.

Just a few years back, power companies lined up to design hulking new lines to bring power from the Midwest, where 56 percent of electricity is generated by coal-burning plants.

Those plans included building a high-voltage line from Virginia to New Jersey that would have unfurled across the heart of Delaware, helping assure reliable power to the state — and costing customers of Delmarva Power $1.2 billion.

But the world changed — seemingly overnight.

Now regional power grid operator PJM Interconnection is dialing back its projections of future energy use amid a sluggish economy, increases in energy efficiency and the new economics of energy in the age of carbon consciousness.

That has set off a domino reaction of delays in power companies’ plans to build those lines, as PJM reassesses when the lines will be needed, if they’re needed at all.

The reassessment is a chance to wean the country off fossil fuels and build the infrastructure around locally sited renewables without having to erect giant electrified structures in peoples’ backyards, said Carol Overland, an attorney representing opponents of a proposed large power line in New Jersey.

“It’s a very good shift. Culturally, that’s a shift we need to make,” Overland said. “It gives us an opportunity to do it differently.”

Although Delmarva has rights of way through most of its planned Delaware route, it is working to acquire the rights to build on long stretches of land on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, through farms like the one owned by Libby Nagel, of Vienna. Portions of the farm have been in her family for 100 years. She has been fighting the line, saying it will interrupt irrigation and get in the way of low-flying pesticide spray planes. She is concerned Delmarva will invoke eminent domain to force the line onto her property.

“This transmission line is about them bringing cheap coal-fired power in here,” Nagel said, arguing it’s more about profits than reliability. “They say we’re going to benefit. But it is a transmission line. That’s all it is.”

The line, known as the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, was proposed in 2006 by Delmarva Power’s parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc. It would run from Virginia to Maryland, across the Chesapeake Bay and end at the Indian River Power Plant in Millsboro.

The line originally was to continue on to the nuclear power plant in Salem, N.J., but that leg was pushed back last summer after PJM ran computer models and found that reliability issues in Delaware have eased due to a downturn in electricity usage.

Last month, those models showed a wider shift, which led PJM to tell two power companies that portions of its Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline would not be needed in 2014 as scheduled. The “PATH” project, sponsored by Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power, would link West Virginia to the Frederick, Md. area.

Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve put in an application with Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue, went out to Long Island last week for a “meet and greet,” and we’ve gotten through the “house visit” (whew!), and tomorrow we’re getting our new grrrrrrrrrrrrl: