The application for the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline, PATH, has been withdrawn.  Notice was just sent out, not long after PJM issued a press release saying that PATH was “delayed.”

PJM’s PATH “delay” Press Release 2-28-2011

And here’s the one we’ve been waiting for, Potomac Edison’s Notice of Withdrawal (that didn’t take long!):

PATH – Notice of Withdrawal

I’m looking on the PJM website, and can’t find the 2010 RTEP, so I call the number on the bottom of the Press Release, 866-756-6397,  wanting to know where the 2010 RTEP is (one of the attorneys on the Susquehanna-Roseland line had asked about that, and I was stunned I couldn’t find it!!!), and when the 2011 RTEP is due out.  No one can help, they’re in a meeting, “anyone that could help you is in a meeting.”  Someone will call back… Uh-huh… right…

What they say is what we’ve been saying for how long?

PJM annually reviews its transmission expansion plans. A preliminary analysis suggests that the need for the line has moved further into the future. Therefore, the PJM Board has decided to hold the PATH project in abeyance in the 2011 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP). The preliminary analysis used the most current economic forecasts, demand response commitments and potential new generation.

Over the last two years, the recession and the dramatic change in the economic outlook caused PJM to forecast lower growth in the use of electricity. Growth in the use of electricity correlates with economic growth. The forecasted slower growth rate likely will delay the need for the line.

So now, how to find that 2010 RTEP???

Click map for larger version:


PATH, the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline, is in trouble… AGAIN…

The good news is that the West Virginia Public Service Commission staff is challenging need for the PATH line, which was already postponed by PJM.  And then there’s these pesky states questioning the need, like Maryland, which challenged the corporate organizational form, noting that it wasn’t a utility so “get outta here!”

Now it’s time for the West Virginia PSC staff to raise its eyebrows and deliver a solid Motion to Dismiss:

WVa PSC Staff’s Motion to Dismiss PATH Application

For the entire docket, go here:

West Virginia PSC Docket for PATH Transmission Line

And here’s the way it looks in the press:

$2B PATH project faces dismissal by W. Va. regulators

Posted: 6:39 pm Thu, December 16, 2010
By Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An application to build a $2 billion power line from West Virginia to Maryland should be dismissed because less expensive alternatives should be considered first, say staff reviewing the project for the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Developers of the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH, say the 765-kilovolt line is needed to meet projected power demand along the East Coast by 2015.

But PSC staff said it was “ludicrous” to continue with the project while changes to the region’s existing power grid are being contemplated. Staff specifically mentioned Virginia-based Dominion’s recent notice to rebuild its 500-kilovolt line from Mt. Storm in West Virginia to the Doubs substation in Maryland. That upgrade and other improvements are estimated to cost $500 million to $600 million.

Another planned project is the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway in Maryland. The line is to provide power to the Delmarva Peninsula.

Dominion says the Mt. Storm-Doubs line, which was built in 1966, must be rebuilt to maintain service. Developers gave the line’s current condition as a justification for the PATH project and the separate Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line.

“The rebuild will be a more stable line with 65 percent increased capacity,” PSC staff said it its Dec. 10 filing. The additional capacity “will push the need for the PATH line further out on the horizon,” perhaps to 2020, staff wrote.

PATH is a joint venture of Allegheny Energy Co. and American Electric Power Co. The proposed 275-mile line would run from AEP’s John Amos plant in West Virginia, across three counties in Northern Virginia, to a substation near Kemptown in Frederick County.

At least 250 groups, representing landowners, The Sierra Club, local county commissions and boards of education are opposed to PATH’s construction. Many of them have submitted letters supporting the latest staff filing.

The filing marks the second time PSC staff has recommended the application be dismissed. In October 2009, staff sought to dismiss the application because Maryland’s utility commission had dismissed an application in that state, saying it had been improperly filed.

Instead, the utilities agreed to extend the deadline for when the PSC must make a decision from May 16, 2011, to July 28, 2011.

PATH spokeswoman Jeri Matheny said Thursday the Dominion line “ties in very well” with the PATH project. Also, once PATH is built the Dominion line can be taken out of service for a rebuild, he said.

Matheny did not have an immediate comment on the staff’s recommendation to dismiss the application, saying a formal response would be filed with the PSC next week.

Earlier this month PJM Interconnection approved the Mt. Storm-Doubs line, but also reaffirmed its support of the PATH project. PJM manages the electrical grid in a 13-state region.

If the three-member PSC doesn’t dismiss the PATH application, staff is asking that it require developers to submit new testimony regarding the economic and environmental aspects of the project. Staff is also asking that AEP and Allegheny Energy again agree to extend the decision deadline.

The commission has not taken any action on the staff’s recommendation, PSC spokeswoman Susan Small said Thursday.

PJM shell game continues

October 14th, 2010


This week, PJM has “decided” that part of the humongous 500kV buildout isn’t necessary.  Well DUH, but…

PJM Press Release – PJM Board authorizes $18 billion in transmission upgrades

And so please explain why the headline isn’t “PJM Board cancels 500-kilovolt (kV) line connecting the Branchburg, Roseland and Hudson substations in northern New Jersey.”

From that PJM board meeting, there was a presentation that looks like a corporate-style WAKE UP call:

Tierney Presentation to the Board

Meanwhile, I’m trying to find the primary documentation, something with specifics about what was “approved” and what was “removed” and the basis for it… nada… nothing that I can find on the site.  Something else irritating is that when I’m looking up documents on the PJM site, I often just get a blank black page, particularly from the TEAC site.

One interesting presentation was about a Market Efficiency Analysis, in 2014 without Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP), Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), Branchburg-Roseland-Hudson and Susquehanna-Roseland, and from then on without the Branchburg, Roseland and Hudson line:

2010 Market Efficiency Analysis Results Updates – October 6, 2010

And when I try to get closer to the Northern NJ documentation… well, tell me if YOU can get anything:

Link to “Northern Option Conceptual Study”

“File is damaged and could not be repaired.”  So I called the number on the PJM press release to see… and was told they’ll call back.  Yes, we shall see…


The cost apportionment remand at FERC is heating up.   It’s that case where the 7th Circuit threw out the PJM cost apportionment scheme:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC – August 6, 2009

It went back to FERC and so FERC issued an Order requiring PJM to produce things that… well… things that will demonstrate that there’s no need for this project, things that will demonstrate the benefactor of these transmission lines, things that PJM doesn’t really want the world to know, like how they’ve incorporated O-P-T-I-M-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N, things going directly to N-E-E-D!

FERC Order January 21, 2010

Seeing that, well, Stop the Lines had to join in, as did the Municipal Intervenors:

Stop The Lines! Motion for Limited Intervention

PJM begged for more time, an extension of 45 days!

PJM’s Motion for More Time to Answer

And for some bizarre reason, FERC gave it to them:

FERC Order Feb 22 2010

Meanwhile, Exelon wants to bring in the kitchen sink, including 345kV transmission:

Exelon Motion Feb 23 2010

And parties they are a freakin’ and filing:

Baltimore Gas & Electric Response to Exelon

Dayton Power & Light response to Exelon

And then the weirdest of all – the American Wind Energy Ass (AWEA) wants to intervene, citing “the current significance of this issue in the context of efforts to build transmission to bring location-constrained, renewable resources to load…”  Ummmm… SAY WHAT??

AWEA-SEIA Motion to Intervene Out of Time

OK, I give up… in what parallel or alternate universe is the PATH or Susquehanna-Roseland line for wind?  WHERE DO THEY GET THESE IDEAS?  I want to see the basis for that statement.  PRODUCE!

Earth to AWEA — can you spell P-R-O-J-E-C-T M-O-U-N-T-A-I-N-E-E-R?


If you need a hint, go to FERC eLibrary and search for A05-03.  Happy reading!

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.

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