I must admit, I get so tired of over and over and over and over harping on the basic bottom line, that we DON’T NEED MORE TRANSMISSION. But oh well… here we go again. Just filed Reply Comments on the Biennial Transmission Report:

Once more with feeling:

2021 Biennial Transmission Report

From the public meeting materials, here’s what they’re looking at, above.  These are significant additions to the transmission grid in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

MISO’s Economic Planning Users Group is planning a “Regional Transmission Overlay Study” and they’re having another meeting tomorrow, May 25, 2017 down in Metatairie, Louisiana.

Here’s the call in info:

WebEx Information
Event Number: 966 575 350
WebEx Password: Ts824634

Participant Dial-In Number: 1-800-689-9374
Participant Code: 823713

Meeting Materials from the MISO site:

Here’s the problem — they close the meeting, and people like me aren’t allowed to attend.  First I was told, back in January when I tried to register:

Thank you for registering for the Economic Planning Users Group (EPUG) on Jan 31.  The afternoon portion of this meeting will be held in CLOSED session and reserved from MISO Members or Market Participants only.  Please feel free to attend the morning session from 11:00 am to 12:45 pm ET / 10:00 am to 11:45 CT.

I filled out their “CEII – Non-Disclosure Agreement” form and fired it off.  But noooooo…

So next I went to the PUC’s Quarterly MISO update, where I was assured that we could make arrangements so that I could attend.  I resent the “CEII – Non-Disclosure Agreement” and went back and forth and it came to this (click for larger version).  Note this “explanation” of options to be able to attend:

The reason that you were not permitted to attend the closed session is because the meeting involved discussion of Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) and CEII access requests by Non-Member Individuals requires FERC clearance.  Another access option is to be included on Appendix A of a MISO member or Market Participant.

So that says there are two ways to gain access, 1) get “FERC clearance” or 2) “Another access option is to be included on Appendix A of a MISO member or Market Participant.”  One or the other. Emphasis added.  Here’s the email (click for larger version) laying out those two options:

Oh, I says to myself, off to FERC.  I sent in the requisite paperwork to FERC, and got “FERC clearance” and they shipped me the CEII information, including but not limited to the map.  I let MISO know I’d obtained “FERC clearance,” and here’s the response (click for larger version):

ARRRRGH, they have my CEII NDA on file, have had it since January 23, 2017.  I resent it to the writer of these emails on March 4, 2017, and I sent it again today, and objected to yet another change in their “rules” (click for larger version):

So the plot thickens — from MISO (click or larger version):

And from moi (click for larger version):

Transmission in NYT today

February 7th, 2009

Matthew Wald has a good piece in the NYT today, good in that it raises some of the issues, but these issues raised need some more digging, can you dig it?

Check this paragraph from the article:

In fact, energy experts say that simply building a better grid is not enough, because that would make the cheap electricity that comes from burning coal available in more parts of the country. That could squeeze out generators that are more expensive but cleaner, like those running on natural gas. The solution is to put a price on emissions from dirtier fuels and incorporate that into the price of electricity, or find some other way to limit power generation from coal, these experts say.

Not “could,” but WOULD “squeeze out generators that are more expensive but cleaner” and adding externalities to coal generation cost would only stop that, would only be a “solution” if it tacked on HUGE costs, far greater than those anticipated by those advocating either Cap & Trade or Tax.

But those of us in transmission are glad to see the driver for new construction exposed, as it was in the MISO Benefits Study by our good friends at ICF:

RTO operational benefits are largely associated with the improved ability to displace  generation with coal generation, more efficient use of coal generation, and better use of import potential.

Here’s that MISO study, the above quote comes from the conclusions, p. 83, and is also stated in the intro — THIS IS THE REASON FOR TRANSMISSION, THIS IS THE REASON FOR THE MIDWEST MISO MARKET.  Read the study:

ICF’s Independent Assessment of Midwest ISO Operational Benefits

For example, Jose Delgado whining about hwo long it took to get the permit for Arrowhead, what does he expect for a project that was an absurdly obvious ploy for a superhighway for bulk power portrayed as a “local load” need for WUMS?  They put together many options in the WRAO report, and selected one, Arrowhead, “3j,” as the be-all and end-all of transmission.  That was declared the ONE line that would fix Wisconsin.  Then, next thing you know, they still want to do “5” more commonly known as the Chisago project, they want to do “9” in SW Minnesota claiming “it’s for wind” when there’s only 213-302MVA coming off of Buffalo Ridge into the Nobles substation, they do them all because that’s what they want, they can ship bulk power.  It’s been so dishonest…  Utilities have been so dishonest…

And let’s look at the financing of these lines.  CapX 2020 testimony and a powerpoint demonstrate that they don’t have the financing lined up for that $2 billion dollar project.  They were working through Lehman Bros. so what does that say?  The “Cap” of CapX 2020 is “Capital” and they don’t have it.  But because they want it, they’ll make us pay for it.  Is something wrong with this picture?


Hurdles (Not Financial Ones) Await Electric Grid Update


WASHINGTON — Environmentalists dream of a bigger and “smarter” electric grid that could move vast amounts of clean electricity from windswept plains and sunny deserts to distant cities.

Such a grid, they argue, could help utilities match demand with supply on the hottest afternoons, allow customers to decide when to run their appliances and decrease the risk of blackouts, like the one that paralyzed much of the East in 2003.

The Obama administration has vowed to make the grid smarter and tougher, allocating $11 billion in grants and loan guarantees to the task in the economic stimulus package passed by the House last week.

But it will take a lot more than money to transform the grid from a form that served well in the last century, when electricity was produced mostly near the point of consumption, and when the imperative was meeting demand, no matter how high it grew.

Opposition to power lines from landowners and neighbors, local officials or environmental groups, especially in rural areas, makes expansion difficult — even when the money for it is available. And some experts argue that in the absence of a broader national effort to encourage cleaner fuels, even the smartest grid will do little to reduce consumption of fuels that contribute to climate change.

In fact, energy experts say that simply building a better grid is not enough, because that would make the cheap electricity that comes from burning coal available in more parts of the country. That could squeeze out generators that are more expensive but cleaner, like those running on natural gas. The solution is to put a price on emissions from dirtier fuels and incorporate that into the price of electricity, or find some other way to limit power generation from coal, these experts say.

The stimulus bill passed by the House includes $6.5 billion in credit to federal agencies for building power lines, presumably in remote areas where renewable energy sources are best placed, and $2 billion in loan guarantees to companies for power lines and renewable energy projects. The bill also includes $4.4 billion for the installation of smart meters — which, administration officials say, in combination with other investments in a smart grid, would cut energy use by 2 percent to 4 percent — and $100 million to train workers to maintain the grid.

About 527,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines stretch across the United States, most installed many decades ago.

Everyone agrees that more lines are needed. But some industry experts argue that the problem of making the grid greener goes well beyond upgrading and expanding the existing power lines. The grid, they say, was set up primarily to draw energy from nearby plants and to provide a steady flow of electricity to customers. It was not intended to incorporate power from remote sources like solar panels and windmills, whose output fluctuates with weather conditions — variability that demands a far more flexible operation.

The experts say that the grid must therefore be designed to moderate demand at times when there is less wind or sun available — for example, by allowing businesses or residential customers to volunteer to let the local utility turn down air-conditioners in office buildings or houses, when hourly prices rise.

An even more significant problem is that utilities increasingly face opposition to expansion and must fight for years for permits.

José M. Delgado, president and chief executive of the American Transmission Company, which operates in four Midwestern states, said his firm’s last major project, a line of about 220 miles from Duluth, Minn., to Wausau, Wis., took two years to build but eight years before that to win the permits. The federal Interior Department took a year to approve the line crossing a wild river and required a $5 million contribution to a national park, but the one-year delay raised costs by an additional $12 million, for a total of $440 million, Mr. Delgado said.

Loan guarantees will not help this problem, he said. “We have had wonderful access to the private bond market,” he added.

The International Transmission Company, a Michigan company, is trying to build a 26-mile line that, had it been in place, would have prevented the great Eastern blackout of 2003, said Joseph L. Welch, president and chief executive. The State of Michigan has approved it, but a homeowner is challenging it in court, Mr. Welch said.

“We burn up three years on a line that will take two months to build,” he said.

But, he added, “We absolutely have no problem — underscore, no problem — financing our transmission grid.”

Other companies said the same, although a few said the loan guarantees in the House bill would be helpful.

As power lines lengthen, the number of approvals they require increases, the complications of dividing the costs become greater and the difference among national interests and local interests becomes starker, said Dan W. Reicher, a former assistant secretary of energy who was a member of President Obama’s transition team.

Policy makers have looked at various models to resolve the conflicting interests in power-line disputes. In the 1930s, the federal government assumed sole responsibility for approving natural gas pipelines, and as a result, gas moves freely from wells in the Gulf Coast states to other areas of the country, with much of it used to make electricity. Gas pipelines are somewhat less objectionable, though, because they are buried.

Another model is the one used to build the Interstate Highway System, with the states using their powers of eminent domain in a system that was centrally planned with state input. But highways were more attractive to many states than power lines would be, electricity officials say, especially if the lines are simply crossing a state without adding much local benefit. A third possibility is a national commission that would present a master plan for thousands of miles of new transmission lines that Congress could approve for the whole country in spite of local objections for individual pieces.

Congress tried to solve the problem in 2005 with a law that gave the Energy Department authority to intervene if states did not approve new lines deemed to be in the national interest, but that has not worked well, said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Energy Committee. It was criticized as an assault on the traditional control by the states of land-use decisions.

The electric industry is at least planning to better integrate different parts of the grid so that if power is needed in Baltimore it can be imported from Chicago. A group of technical experts, mostly from the Midwest, have been meeting for months to map out new lines, in an effort that industry veterans say is unprecedented in its breadth. But the group’s aim is simply a map of what such a system would look like; it will not seek permission for such lines, or try to finance them or actually build them. The group is scheduled to make an announcement next week.

“We’ve got a real political confrontation that’s going to take place,” said Glenn L. English Jr., chief executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, who had served as a congressman from Oklahoma for 20 years. “It basically comes down to the question of prioritization. What’s more important to you? Do you truly want to maximize the use of renewable energy?”


Delmarva Power has been hosting meetings about its proposed Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway.   The next meeting is:

Wednesday, February 4 @ 6 p.m.

Millsboro Civic Center

322 Wilson Highway

This is an electrical superhighway through Delaware, the map makes that much clear.

What’s interesting is that Rep. Tom Carper seems to be taking an enlightened and informed position on this:

Carper said the question of the power line needs to be considered in a larger context. He harkened back to the construction of Del. 1 to handle an increase in north-south travel, noting that along with the new road came a look at expanding public transit, car-pooling, and other alternatives to driving.

“Upgrading power lines on the Delmarva Peninsula may be necessary, but I hope Delawareans will take this opportunity to look not only at where a power line might go, but also at how they could help reduce the need for a new line in the first place,” Carper said.

Today, there’s a long piece in the News Journal about it, with the above quote from Carper:

Power-line plan stirs environment fears

Bluewater Wind hails pathway for clean energy

The News Journal

Environmentalists are divided over the merits of a Pepco Holdings plan to string a 500-kilovolt power line through the heart of Delaware to better connect southern power plants with growing demand in the mid-Atlantic region.

Pepco’s proposed Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway would be like an interstate highway of electricity, designed to make more space on the often-choked power grid for electricity to flow to growing population centers on the East Coast.

Clean-air advocates say it could help carry clean wind power to the homes and businesses that need it, even as they worry it will also import dirty coal-fired power from the South and Midwest.

Wildlife and property-rights advocates are afraid the line will be a blight on the landscape, running through fragile areas along the Delaware River and Bay.

The most controversy in Delaware about the power line, which is now being examined by the public in a series of public hearings, is likely to focus on an eight-mile stretch of land in southern New Castle County.

The utility would need to acquire an easement through an area near the Delaware River that includes many wetlands and state-designated critical natural areas.

Officials at Pepco Holdings, the parent company of Delmarva Power, said the specific path there has not yet been chosen.

The planned power line would start in Dumfries, Va., cut through Maryland and across the Chesapeake Bay, then run through southern Delaware to the Indian River Power Plant. The line then would continue up the length of the state and across the Delaware River, ending in Salem, N.J.

It’s one of several large lines planned in this region to shore up electrical reliability. Utility officials say it’s especially needed on the Delmarva Peninsula, where power lines currently run only from the north. This would add a second path from the west.

Although power demand is down because of the recession, utility representatives say that won’t last, and demand will one day overtax the existing grid.

By connecting three regional nuclear power plants, the new high-capacity line will spread power along the coast as well as bring in power from the coal-rich Midwest.

The $1.425 billion line is expected to add 40 cents to the average residential monthly electric bill. The costs would be borne by all electric users in the 13-state PJM Interconnection regional power grid.

The immediate need for the line is to move current through Delaware, but it also could be a useful outlet for the thousands of megawatts of renewable electricity that could one day be generated by wind turbines off the state’s coast, said Joseph Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, an area environmental group.

Bluewater Wind plans to build a small wind farm off Rehoboth Beach and sell the electricity to Delmarva Power, but the firm also hopes to expand that farm in the future to feed more power to the grid.

If the transmission grid is strong enough, Delaware could export power throughout the region, Minott said, explaining why he favors the project.

“If you’re going to create a vibrant market for wind energy, you need to be able to transmit it further than the town at the end of the beach,” said Minott, who added that he had “trepidation and concerns” about the lines being used also to expand the reach for coal-generated power.

Rob Gramlich, policy director for the American Wind Energy Association, said a better transmission system is needed for onshore wind farms to carry their output to the wider populace.

Offshore wind is different, he said. Although it’s more expensive than onshore wind, its appeal is in its proximity to population centers, he said. It doesn’t take very many miles of transmission to get the power where it’s needed, he said — a problem for generators of wind power in the nation’s more sparsely populated heartland.

Nick DiPasquale of Delaware Audubon said he would rather see small, localized, mainly renewable power sources instead of big lines that carry power from big coal-burning power plants. He’s concerned about where the Power Pathway would go.

“If it means converting protected land to developed land — even if the profile is relatively small — I would find that a very troubling precedent,” he said.

Utilities lose power when current is transmitted over long distances, said Carol Overland, a Minnesota attorney and electrical consultant who has been active on Delaware environmental issues. She said conservation and renewable-energy projects, using the existing power grid, should be sufficient.

State Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach, expressed concern that electromagnetic force, or EMF, from power lines has been investigated as a cause of childhood leukemia.

In a letter to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., he wrote, “There is a grave concern amongst many Delawareans” about the line.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no scientific consensus on the health effects of EMF.

Pepco Holdings owns the rights to much of the land it needs. It’s planning to build the larger line along a right of way that already features smaller power lines.

But within the section of the line that runs from Indian River north to Salem, there will be areas where the right of way needs to be widened, the utility has said.

And there’s a yet-to-be-specified section in southeast New Castle County where the Pathway would break from the existing power line along Del. 9 and head toward the Delaware Bay, where it would cross and connect with the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear plant.

That will require Pepco Holdings to acquire eight miles of new right of way, company officials said last week.

“Whether it’s dry land, wet land, high land, I wouldn’t want to answer that question right now,” said Vince Maione, pathway project manager for Pepco. He added that the company wants to minimize impacts on the environment and the population.

PJM is still reviewing Pepco Holdings’ application for the portion of the line running north from Indian River. Once that confirmation comes, Pepco Holdings will develop the path in greater detail, Maione said.

To cross the Delaware River, the utility wants to build a second overhead crossing, about six to eight miles south of its current line.

The company has not been in touch with Delaware landowners regarding easements, said Matt Likovich, a Delmarva spokesman.

Delaware state government has little control over the portions of the line for which Delmarva already has rights of way. Unlike in Maryland, this state’s Public Service Commission does not have the authority to approve the location of a transmission line.

One of the few categories where state government has oversight is where a planned power line would cross natural areas like bodies of water and wetlands. Pepco Holdings has not been in touch to request a permit, said Philip Cherry, a state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control policy manager.

But Delmarva lacks leverage, at least on the state level, when it comes to expanding beyond its rights of way.

The state eminent-domain law doesn’t give the utility the right to seize land for a power project. Likovich said if the company can’t reach an agreement with a landowner, “we will have to construct the line by going around the property in question.”

But the utility may hold a trump card: the U.S. Energy Department last year designated Delaware part of a region where the federal government can order an electricity project finished if states fail to do so.

Delmarva officials say they’ll work hard to negotiate with landowners to avoid the issue of eminent domain.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone to take anyone’s land,” Maione said. Pressed about whether the utility would be OK with the government seizing land for the project, he said, “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Meanwhile, in Sussex County, Pepco Holdings held a community meeting in Gumboro on Thursday night, attracting 50 members of the public. The next meeting is Wednesday night in Millsboro.

Carper said the question of the power line needs to be considered in a larger context. He harkened back to the construction of Del. 1 to handle an increase in north-south travel, noting that along with the new road came a look at expanding public transit, car-pooling, and other alternatives to driving.

“Upgrading power lines on the Delmarva Peninsula may be necessary, but I hope Delawareans will take this opportunity to look not only at where a power line might go, but also at how they could help reduce the need for a new line in the first place,” Carper said.

He said that could come by saving electricity, installing solar panels on their homes, adding insulation, purchasing Energy Star appliances, or taking other steps to save electricity.

Additional Facts

The next community meeting about the power line will be held Wednesday at the Millsboro Civic Center, 322 Wilson Highway, 6 p.m.




Delmarva Power will be hosting three meetings in Sussex County on the MAPP transmission line, no not MAPP of “MAPP map” fame, but Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, a big line designed to bring coal generated electricity through Delaware, and take Delaware’s Indian River coal generation north east into New Jersey.

Times, dates and locations for community meetings:

Tuesday, January 27
Delmar Fire Hall
Bi-State Blvd. & Grove St.
Delmar, Del.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday, January 29
Gumboro Fire Hall
37030 Millsboro Highway
Gumboro, Del.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, February 4
Millsboro Civic Center
322 Wilson Highway
Millsboro, Del.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Delaware is way behind in transmission regulation.  Unlike most states, Delaware does NOTHING at all to regulate transmission — there’s no Certificate of Need or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity required, they do NOT have to demonstrate that the line is needed.  And there’s no PSC routing proceeding either.  In most states, they DO have to demonstrate need or the line cannot be built, and the line must be for a public purpose.  For the MAPP line, which is bulk power transfer, MARKET TRANSACTIONS, there’s no public purpose here, just private purpose, corporate profit.  There’s nothing in it for Delaware.   Well, it does enable NRG to move its coal generation around more easily.

You may hear claims “it’s for wind” and that is a crock.  You may have heard Jeremy Firestone say that this line is designed for coal and nuclear, but could be designed to help wind development in Delaware — Jeremy Firestone may be the wind guru, but Firestone’s outside his area of expertise and his failure to say “SHUT DOWN INDIAN RIVER” comes through loud and clear.   Here’s Firestone and Kempton’s comments about MAPP from  Bluewater Term Sheet comments:

Moreover, building transmission seems to make more sense for Delaware than building additional natural gas capacity. After the state agencies acted in May, the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway received interim approvals from the federal government, the regional transmission operator and Gov. Minner. If and when it is finally approved, MAPP would run a high-voltage line connecting from multiple power plants and power users in Virginia, into Delaware all the way to Indian River. This would provide any backup power needed. And if Delaware builds more offshore wind farms, that also would make it easier for us to sell excess wind power to other states.

NO NO NO, that only enables coal and nuclear. Whatever are you thinking?

Delaware Electric Cooperative has said that it wants to build a NEW North Anna nuclear plant — is that still DEC’s plan?  If so, the MAPP line would get that nuclear power there, and all DEC customers would be participating in nuclear expansion. Is that what you want?  This is an issue for Sussex county to weigh in on now!

Shutting down NRG’s Indian River Generating Plant is the logical step to help wind development in Delaware, both in market development and transmission access.   And of course it’s the logical step to reduce toxic emissions in Delaware — the Indian River Generating Plant is the largest point-source polluter in Delaware.  To quote Muller:  DELAWARE NEEDS TO STOP BURNING COAL.


How would shutting down the Indian River plant enable wind?   Indian River’s two smallest plants will be shut down in 2009, and removal of that generation leaves enough transmission infrastructure generation and reservations for the Bluewater Wind project.  If Indian River was completely shut down, there’s room for a lot more off-shore-wind generated electricity than Bluewater plans — several times the MW of the Bluewater Project.   Let’s get to it — shut down Indian River now — and if NRG’s bid for gas generation to back up wind is approved, that would be sited there — just the right place back up wind and provide reactive power for the system.

And a little sidebar — though many Renewable Energy Standards passed, ALL have a fatal flaw — not a single one is linked to any shut down of fossil fuel generation.  So for a 25% RES, we’re looking at adding that above current generation, not cutting generation, so the numbers look like this: 100% demand + 25% RES = 125% rather than 100% demand -25% fossil fuel + 25% RES = 100%.  That may seem simple… so why are all RES’s missing this important connection?

What this MAPP line does is enable coal generation from the other end of the line and coal generation at Indian River to continue, and to be sold on the market, so that even if Delaware does not use the generation, they can sell it elsewhere.  Even if CO2 externalities add to the cost, on the spot market they can sell it anywhere and still make a lot of money.  Yeah, good idea.

Once more with feeling — Two points here:



Here’s Delmarva’s blurb published nearly verbatim in the Sussex Countian:

DP&L will update community on proposed power pathway

Here’s the Delmarva from a PR service:

Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway Meetings Scheduled for Sussex County, Del.

2009-01-21 20:01:02 –

Delmarva Power, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., will hold community informational meetings in Sussex County, Del., on Tuesday, Jan. 27; Thursday, Jan. 29; and Wednesday, Feb. 4, to provide information and respond to questions about the utility’s proposed 230-mile interstate electric transmission line.

More than 100 miles of the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) project will be built in Delaware, with much of the route constructed along existing rights-of-way. The segment from the Maryland border to Indian River is expected to be completed by June 2013. PJM Interconnection, the operator of the Mid-Atlantic power grid, is still evaluating the in-service date for the portion from Indian River to New Jersey. Each phase of the project will be placed in service as it is completed, providing immediate electricity reliability benefits to the region.

“We believe this line is vital for providing residential and business customers with access to more affordable and reliable energy as the region continues to grow,” said Vince Maione, MAPP Project Manager. “It is important that Sussex County residents understand that most of the route will be built on or adjacent to existing rights-of-way. These meetings are an opportunity for residents to learn and ask questions about the project.”

Maione will brief residents on the MAPP process and provide detailed information on how the project will benefit Sussex County. Residents will have an ample opportunity to review project maps, voice concerns and question Maione and other Delmarva Power experts.

Times, dates and locations for community meetings:

Tuesday, January 27
Delmar Fire Hall
Bi-State Blvd. & Grove St.
Delmar, Del.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday, January 29
Gumboro Fire Hall
37030 Millsboro Highway
Gumboro, Del.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, February 4
Millsboro Civic Center
322 Wilson Highway
Millsboro, Del.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:POM) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving about 1.9 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and New Jersey . PHI subsidiaries Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric provide regulated electricity service; Delmarva Power also provides natural gas service. PHI provides competitive wholesale generation services through Conectiv Energy and retail energy products and services through Pepco Energy Services.

Delmarva Power
Matt Likovich
410-860-6203 (office)
866-655-2237 (pager)