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 »


And just now, hot off the press… er… inbox, is notice that PEPCO has asked that the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, MAPP, be suspended:

PEPCO letter 1.8.09 to suspend MAPP, includes 1.8.09 letter from PJM’s Herling

They’re saying it’s because MAPP is reliant on PATH in the modeling, but they already withdrew the Indian River to Salem leg and delayed the rest due to LACK OF NEED, and now… well, we know it’s not needed.  So whatever, I just wish they’d be honest about it.

Again, remember that all three of these, PATH, MAPP, and Susquehanna-Roseland were promoted based on the 2007 RTEP, which was based on those inflated peak figures from 2006!

PJM’s 2007 RTEP

Here’s the sensitivity analysis from PATH that is applicable to other projects:

PATH – Cover letters & sensitivity analysis

Transmission falling like dominos in a hurricane… I love it when this happens!

It’s so good to be home … for a second or so, that is, before the CapX 2020 Brookings public and evidentiary hearings start. For more on that, go to NoCapX 2020!

PJM’s Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway is in the news again… or is it PEPCO… or is it Delmarva Power… yes, another stupid transmission idea comin’ down the pike… it’s time to say NO! to transmission for coal!

Join the “No New Coal” brigade at the rally:

December 1 at 1 p.m.

Baltimore’s Preston Gardens Park

Don’t get confused by this map of MAPP — they’re now admitting that the part from Indian River to Salem “isn’t needed” and it’s only a matter of time before they figure out that a 500kV line to nowhere isn’t needed either.

From The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s paper – YES! maybe there’s hope, maybe they’ll do a better job than we have:

MAPP and PATH: Time to draw the line

By Matt Dernoga

Updated: Monday, November 23, 2009

I have a minor suggestion for the utility companies. If you’re going to try to portray your attempts to build gigantic interstate transmission lines as a way to transfer renewable energy, don’t connect them to coal plants.

Coal power squared: That’s what Pepco Holdings Inc. is trying to sell us with the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, along with Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power pushing the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline. MAPP is 150 miles long and starts at a coal-powered plant in Virginia, which crosses into this state and ends in Delaware, racing across the Chesapeake Bay in the process. PATH is 275 miles long, starts at one of the nation’s largest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in West Virginia and arrives in Kemptown, Md.

The motivation for both projects is pretty simple. The local electricity markets for these coal-fired power plants pay 6.63 cents a kilowatt hour in West Virginia and 9.1 cents in Virginia. There’s a considerable profit to be made by selling this power in a state such as Maryland, where the average market price is 13.45 cents a kilowatt hour.

I think that’s fine — profit is always the motivator — but the question is, what do ordinary people and not just companies get out of the deal?

If you like people, the residents who live in the way of the combined 425 miles of massive transmission lines would face upheaval from eminent domain due to the “right of way” for an approved transmission line. The people who live by the coal plants get to breathe more rarefied air. If you like nature, the lines would also cut across forests, a wildlife refuge and the Chesapeake Bay. If you like money, you’re in luck if you work for one of the utilities. Ratepayers will cover the $1.8 billion cost of PATH and $1.4 billion cost of MAPP. Is a sense of absurdity unavoidable?

Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about these lines is they would lower the incentive for Maryland to use our enviable offshore wind resources. The U.S. Energy Department said the state has “outstanding” wind for power generation offshore, with breezes steadily averaging 18 to 20 mph and about 160 feet above the waves. This is about the height at which wind turbines would spin.

Earlier this year, the Interior Department declared that U.S. offshore wind resources could lead America’s clean energy revolution. Over 1,000 gigawatts of wind potential exists off of the Atlantic coast alone. It would be tremendous if the state could lead the way and tap into this clean energy source. Plus, I’d like to write about something we’re building that’s a good idea for a change.

Fortunately, citizens in states that will be impacted by these transmission lines have been rising up in opposition and demanding their public service commissions make decisions on MAPP and PATH in the interest of the public. State activists are looking to stop the importation of dirty coal power into the state by holding a rally Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. at Preston Gardens Park in Baltimore. Join them and help convince state legislators to make the right decision: No to new coal.

Matt Dernoga is a senior government and politics major. He can be reached at dernoga at umdbk dot com.

Are people starting to get it?  Here’s another from the Diamondback:

Guest column: Toppling King Coal

By Krishna Amin

This state is one of the most forward-thinking in the nation in producing clean energy laws. With Gov. Martin O’Malley’s leadership on the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, the state government has taken a huge, culminating step forward in addressing the threat of global warming. However, with this one step forward, the state could be taking an equally or even greater step backward if the state government and Public Service Commission approves of the new ultra high-voltage power lines, the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway and the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline, from Delaware and West Virginia, respectively. These power lines are designed to carry electricity from coal plants to produce more power and are to pass through this state. If more coal-fired power is imported into the state through these power lines, the greenhouse gas reductions that GGRA is aimed to save would be deterred by increased emissions from the dirty energy-producing power plants. Instead of subsidizing dirty coal energy, the state should be encouraging an investment in clean energy and energy efficiency for the future.

These power lines, particularly MAPP, would bisect a sector of the Eastern Shore known for its environmental resources. This would jeopardize land with some of the most productive agricultural soils, forests with the highest carbon sequestration rates and the habitat of the highest concentration of endangered species on the Eastern Shore.

Furthermore, it would also have both aesthetic and environmental impacts on a few of the state’s greatest cultural resources, such as the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Water Trail, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, as well as the proposed site for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park.

If dirty energy projects such as MAPP and PATH gain approval, then in the near future coal production will start to dwindle, the price of coal energy will inflate and state customers will be stuck paying high prices for an obsolete energy source while trying to find alternative energy solutions.

Rather than enabling energy production from dirty coal, the government should be focused on alternate options for energy that are renewable and do not have to be imported. This is why here on the campus, MaryPIRG has teamed up with Environment Maryland, the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to organize a “Down with King Coal!” campaign. Did you see those one-word flyers around the campus this week? MaryPIRG is working to raise awareness of the need to oppose plans for these power lines. We think in order to influence the public service commissions’ decisions, the governor should come out publicly in opposition to the power lines. The campaign has organized a rally to not only show public opposition to the power lines but also reinforce state residents’ commitment to clean energy solutions. The rally will be Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. in Preston Gardens Park in Baltimore. Join us in saying “Down with King Coal!”

Krishna Amin is a junior biochemistry major. She can be reached at krish121 at umd dot edu.

Sussex County has held off on taking a formal stand on Delmarva Power’s Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, or MAPP, but Delmarva is pushing,  so now’s the time to call them with a simple message:

No, don’t encourage and facilitate coal!

Say NO! to Delmarva Power’s Mid-Atlantic Power Path transmission proposal!

Delmarva Power is going around drumming up support for its Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, or MAPP.  They approached Sussex County to support the line (what do we know about that?  Not much.  Perhaps a FOIA to see what they’ve been doing is in order?) and because there’s a zoning matter before the County, they held off..

Delaware Electric Coop would like to use the MAPP line to bring in electricity from a new Old Dominion coal plant in Virginia.  Oh… great idea… I’ve posted about this before:

Delaware Electric Coop annual meeting

Here’s Alan’s Green Delaware Alert and handout for DEC’s last annual meeting:

Green Delaware – Alert 666

Synapse Report – Fact Sheet – Hampton Road/Cypress Creek

Building a coal plant is a really bad idea, and building transmission for coal is a really bad idea plus… two wrongs do not make a right.

Call all the County Council, thank them for putting on the brakes, and let them know what you think about Delmarva Power’s transmission for coal:

Michael H. Vincent   (302) 629-2396

Samuel R. Wilson   (302) 856-2972

Joan R. Deaver   (302) 645-6657

George B. Cole   (302) 539-1611

Vance C. Phillips   (302) 542-1501

Here’s a report from the Cape Gazette:

Sussex County council delays support of transmission line

Pathway could pump $260 million in county’s economy

By Ron MacArthur

More than a dozen elected bodies and agencies are throwing support behind the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, but Sussex County Council will not join that list – at least not right away.

The 150- to 170-mile high-voltage transmission project, scheduled to be completed in June 2014 at a cost of $1.2 billion, would include 35 miles of lines from Vienna, on Route 50 in Maryland, to the Indian River power plant near Millsboro.

Delmarva Power and Pepco Holdings Inc. were seeking council’s support of the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) project during the county’s Tuesday, Oct. 27 meeting. But council is handcuffed because a zoning application is pending before county officials. A converter station will need to be built near Millsboro.

“Would we be pre-judging this zoning application with support of this?” Council President Vance Phillips asked county attorney Everett Moore.

Moore responded with an emphatic yes.

Phillips told Delmarva Power representatives the council would discuss the matter with its attorney. “We will see if we can come up with some sort of endorsement broad enough not to get ourselves in trouble,” he said.

“This is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by Delmarva Power and Pepco,” said Jim Smith, Delmarva Power senior public affairs manager.

Demand exceeds generation

Jerry Elliott, a Delmarva Power retiree with 35 years’ experience, has come out of retirement to help with the project. In a presentation to council, he said the Delmarva Peninsula depends on imported power, with demand exceeding generation by 500 megawatts during peak periods. Officials say demand will increase by 20 percent during peak periods over the next 10 years.

Power is transmitted from north to south from a single connection point in New Castle County. As a result, he said, more brownouts and blackouts are projected in the future for residents in southern Delaware.

“Even with the economic downturn, without MAPP there is insufficient transmission and power generation capacity to meet demand by 2014,” Elliott said. “The peninsula is isolated from power sources on the western shore and cannot import enough power in the event of an emergency.” He said the single point of access to the grid also results in higher costs for electricity on the peninsula when lower-cost power is available in the region. “MAPP will lower the cost of power by relieving transmission-line congestion,” he said.

Because no new transmission lines have been built on the peninsula in the past 25 years and the area is susceptible to brownouts and blackouts, the area has been designated a Department of Energy National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor.

Matt Likovich, Delmarva Power community and communications coordinator, said the 51 million customers in the project area will be charged 30 cents a month, a charge that will be offset by a savings in congestion charges.

“The cost of electricity during periods of congestion is much higher than at other times. The MAPP project will help relieve transmission-line congestion on the Delmarva Peninsula, resulting in cost savings to customers,” Likovich said.

He said anticipated savings are about 60 cents per month in charges related to congestion.

Line will go under the bay

Elliott said 500-kilovolt and 640-kilovolt lines will tie into power plants starting in southern Maryland at Possum Point to Calvert Cliffs with 11 miles taken under the Chesapeake Bay through Dorchester County to a plant in Vienna and then to the Indian River plant.

Almost all of the project will take place on existing rights of way, except in Dorchester County. “Dorchester County does not support this yet,” Elliott said. That is why the exact mileage of the project is not yet known. The final figure depends on what officials in that county decide.

While most of the new lines will be built in place of existing lines, the Dorchester County portion will add new lines to the landscape, which county officials say would harm tourism and agriculture. Dorchester County Council would like the MAPP lines to be placed underground or underwater, both of which would add to the cost of the project.

Replacing existing lines with new lines would pump an estimated $260 million into the Sussex County economy during construction, Elliott said. The 27-mile Sussex County line would be built on existing Delmarva Power rights of way and would start in Delmar and pass through Dagsboro en route to the Indian River plant.

Two new poles, made of steel, and foundations will be placed in the same location as the existing poles.

The new poles will range in height from 155 to 165 feet and be about 16 feet apart. The line will terminate at a new AC/DC converter station near the power plant. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 in Sussex County.

Elliott said MAPP would create a bigger pipeline for delivering new, clean energy solutions for an increase in wind, solar and even nuclear energy opportunities.

“MAPP is the most effective way to secure reliable, diverse and low-cost energy for all residents on the peninsula,” Elliott said.

The original project contained another 100 miles of lines north from the Indian River plant to the Salem, N.J., nuclear power plant. Elliott said because of economic reasons that portion of the project was removed. “It was found there was no need to spend the additional money,” he said.


Apparently Jonathan Travers, “Engineer of Knowledge” is another utility toady or self-declared energy wonk, and thinks I’ve got my head implanted regarding my comments about the MAPP line and about PSE&G’s dissing Midwest transmission.  EH?  I’d say my Google Analyics stats say otherwise.  And then there’s the little energy birdie who admitted the other day that Legalectric is one of his first stops in the morning!


Who is Jonathan Travers?  Haven’t a clue, his reputation does not exceed him!  Google’s got very little to say.  Hmmmmmmm…  There is a “Travers” on the Dorchester County Council, Ricky Travers.  This “Jonathan Travers,” he’s got a blog, Jonathan Travers Chronicles, with only a handful of postings that are focused on blasting opposition to the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) transmission line, i.e., Dorchester County’s Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, who are having some success in fighting the MAPP line, and though Travers’ blog’s banner states “Debate Through Logical Argumentation Only. Not For Flamers!” the level of discourse he’s posting is not even up to “Horse’s Ass Awards” and such:

As I see it, Ms. Nagel’s letter to The Daily Times identifying herself as the “President of Citizens for Safe Energy,” would be better off proclaiming herself as the President of the Dorchester’s chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club based on what I noted as her lack of understanding of electrical engineering per her comments.

Here are his comments about my MAPP post, “MAPP Transmission Line Under the Microscope” a couple weeks ago:

To the attention of Legalectric Blog.

You make the statement, “this transmission line is not needed.” Per logical argumentation, you make (sic) no backup facts to support this opening statement. As any English writing course teaches, this is just poor writing skills (sic). As it has been (sic) well documented by “The Public Service Commission” report (sic) released last December (sic) warned that the state could experience rolling blackouts as early as 2011 to helped (sic… really!) people understand the reason for MAPP’s conception. So with just your opening statement, you have negated your argument and quite poorly I might add (how “sic” can it be?).

Overland comments: “backup facts” about transmission line not needed can be found by searching this site for “decreased demand” and “PJM annual report” and PJM Load Capability.  Ummmm, Hello, I’m a writing major, and your comment about “poor writing skills” isn’t about writing, it’s about evidence that you want.  Don’t worry, it’s there, just look!  “Rolling blackouts” is hysteria, blown away by DEC’s annual Energy Plan, showing sharply decreased congestion on the Delmarva peninsula:


You then go on to post the article from the Star Democrat written by Dustin Holt who may have a journalistic degree but by his statements he has no knowledge of electrical engineering. I have spoken with Mr. Holt in the past and within a short amount of conversation, it was quite apparent that he did not even have the basic understanding of what he was writing about. Mr. Holt starts off by referencing statements from Libby Nagel who has self proclaimed herself (sic) president of the Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy. It is my evaluation that with her lack of electrical engineering knowledge, Ms. Nagel would be better off proclaiming herself President of the Dorchester’s chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club (SIC!). So once again you have quoted a source that does not have adequate credential (sic) to even be speaking on the subject negating your argument again.

Overland comments: I posted the article as a good example of on-the-ground activism, where people work to increase awareness of their issue, and Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy did a great job!  They got press coverage, their elected officials showed up, and pro-MAPP people are flailing wildly — that’s a measure of success!  Libby IS, not was, the President, and IS self-DESCRIBED President, she was elected President by the organization, it’s “described’ not “proclaimed.”  Your “evaluation” is really immaterial.  Ms. Nagel has all the “credential” necessary to speak as an affected community member and President of the primary opposition organization.  The article I posted says she’s the “Chairman,” and not “President.”  Really!

Let me try to explain it this way. If you run just one transmission route like Ms. Nagel is stating would be (sic) like having one extension cord with a hundred electrical appliances, tools, etc. plugged into it. It will not be long before you have overloaded the circuit causing a short circuit or even causing a fire. It is the diversification that the multiple routes provide so that the electrical load required by the Delmarva Peninsula (sic) is what makes the electrical grid secure and stable.

Overland comments:  This is such convoluted and tortured writing that it’s hard to tell where to put the “sic” parentheticals in.  WHEW!  Anyway, back to “substance.”  WTF?  I see only one reference to Ms. Nagel in the article, Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy Chairman Libby Nagel said the power line would require about a 200-foot right-of-way.Nowhere in this article is Nagel advocating for “just one transmission route,” and I don’t think Nagle advocates for ANY transmission route, she’s stating that a new transmission line is not needed!

I would suggest that your readers can get the correct and accurate arguments with regards to MAPP at my site http://www.jonathantraverschronicles.blogspot.com/

Overland comment:  I would suggest that my readers check out the site and comment away!!!  Have at it. My readers will be able to easily dissect that site.

Good day,
Jonathan Travers


Oh, he’s not THAT Jon Travers???

OK, now on to his next comment, on the “PSEG’s Izzo disses Midwest Transmission” post :

To the attention of Legalectric Blog.

In your earlier posting you made the statement, “PJM, the private utility transmission promotion entity, has admitted that the Indian River to Salem part of the line is not justified, and have taken it off their wish list.”

Counter Point:
To start off with PJM simply stands for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland and the state of Delaware has now (sic?) been included since its conception. PJM is an oversight committee (EH?) made up of knowledgeable people in the industry but they do not tell power utilities to build anything (EH?). It is the utilities (sic) to come up with their own plan to address the problem of the soon (sic) lack of electrical power for their regions. Again your statement you are passing on are (sic) incorrect(sic)  negating you (sic) argument.

Overland comment: PJM is more than a committee, it’s a formal business organization.  PJM IS the utilities, and per PSE&G testimony in the Susquehanna-Roseland case, PJM is telling them to build the line.  Now obviously PJM has no authority, but if they press the matter with FERC, FERC could direct the utilities to build it.  It’s much more than an “oversight” committee, it’s an organization that is comprised of utilities, and they not only address electric reliability issues, but they control and manipulate the electric market.  “Lack of electrical power?”  Somebody hasn’t been reading the SEC filings, reserve margins, and annual reports, EARTH TO MARS, there’s a substantial decrease in electrical use and need, we aren’t going to have a power shortage.  Project Mountaineer is not a plan of the individual utilities’ making. JCSP is not a plan of individual utilities, CapX is not a plan of individual utilities…

“A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing,” and the writer of this blog has demonstrated their sever (sic) lack of knowledge in this subject by the statements presented.”

Overland comment: Oh, uh-huh…

Now with this posting they are stating their case as if there is only one transmission line that needs to be considered. For those educated in electrical engineering, it is plain that the writer of this blog does not even have the basic understanding of Ohms Law. What MAPP is offering are multiple access points for electrical transmission routes.

Overland comment: Ummmmm, “they?”  And who is advocating for transmission?  This is the same thing that “Travers” says about Nagel, who said nothing of the sort.  This mantra does not fly.  Multiple access points?  For what generation?  Let’s get clear about that…

For anyone else whom (sic) should (sic) like to inform themselves more proficiently on this subject, I suggest you go to http://www.jonathantraverschronicles.blogspot.com/ where this has all been address (sic) before.

Thank you,
Jonathan Travers


Overland comment: Whoever wrote this is clearly not a native speaker/writer nor in any position to critique writing.  Content, well, anyone can criticize content, but I’d guess that “Travers” is a retired engineer or a newly imported engineer who has not had experience with the capitalist system and the shift of focus of PJM, MISO, etc., to economic dispatch, a market system, where economic considerations are primary, and where the game in transmission is how to build out as much as possible while shifting cost-allocation elsewhere, for someone else to pay, anyone.  Then PJM gets shot down by the 7th Circuit and all their transmission cost apportionment plans are in limbo.