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Transmission line a huge investment, but provides opportunity - Course of Allegheny's $1.4-billion proposal includes Mount Storm

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A 330-mile electric transmission line proposed by Allegheny Energy this week would begin in northern West Virginia and pass through Weirton, Morgantown, Dominion Power's Mount Storm power plant and Berkeley County before ending in Frederick County, Md.

“The 550-kilovolt line is expected to begin engineering in 2007 and be completed in 2013 at a cost of $1.4 billion,” said James Haney, vice president of Allegheny Energy, headquartered in Greensburg, Pa.

The announcement comes less than a month after the nation's largest power generator, American Electric Power of Harrisburg, Pa., announced a proposed 550-mile power line to run from coal-fired, electric-generating plants in central West Virginia to New Jersey, via Maryland and Pennsylvania. The proposal calls for the 765-kilovolt line to be operational in 2014 and will cost $3 billion to construct.

Haney said that taking the line to Mount Storm will provide opportunities for the increasing number of wind farm projects in that area to tie into the grid.

He made the announcement during the annual West Virginia Economic Outlook Conference, held at the Radisson Hotel in Morgantown.
PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization that controls the electric grid in 13 states of the Eastern Seaboard, he said. PJM is “the largest competitive wholesale market” for electricity in the world, controlling most of the electric distribution in the north central United States from Chicago... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

“The 550-kilovolt line is expected to begin engineering in 2007 and be completed in 2013 at a cost of $1.4 billion,” said James Haney, vice president of Allegheny Energy, headquartered in Greensburg, Pa.
 
The announcement comes less than a month after the nation's largest power generator, American Electric Power of Harrisburg, Pa., announced a proposed 550-mile power line to run from coal-fired, electric-generating plants in central West Virginia to New Jersey, via Maryland and Pennsylvania. The proposal calls for the 765-kilovolt line to be operational in 2014 and will cost $3 billion to construct.
 
Haney said that taking the line to Mount Storm will provide opportunities for the increasing number of wind farm projects in that area to tie into the grid.
 
He made the announcement during the annual West Virginia Economic Outlook Conference, held at the Radisson Hotel in Morgantown.
PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization that controls the electric grid in 13 states of the Eastern Seaboard, he said. PJM is “the largest competitive wholesale market” for electricity in the world, controlling most of the electric distribution in the north central United States from Chicago east, serving a population of about 51 million people.
 
“The line will carry 160,000 megawatts of electricity to meet 135,000 megawatts of peak demand,” he said.
 
Haney said the primary purpose of the transmission line is to expand the grid to address issues of reliability, relieve congestion and reduce costs to the consumer.
 
West Virginian consumers pay much lower electric utility costs than consumers in Maryland and other states to the east where the demand is significantly greater, he said.
 
“We call it system congestion, and we don't currently have the infrastructure to lower the cost of power from West Virginia to the load centers of the East,” he said.

“It (the new line) will tie parts of West Virginia together, be more cost-effective and reinforces the existing transmission system,” Haney said. Some benefits are system stability, more use of clean-coal technology and construction jobs.
 
He added, “Both lines are a huge investment but are providing a lot of opportunity for other development.”
 
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin applauded the announcement, saying the move is “expected to boost job growth in West Virginia” and Allegheny's service area across the mid-Atlantic region.
 
The announcement “further demonstrates the importance of West Virginia's coal industry in meeting our nation's energy challenges as Allegheny Energy enhances its existing transmission system to expand the delivery of coal-generated power from West Virginia to corporate and residential customers across the mid-Atlantic,” said Manchin.
 
Jim Truman, a coal market analyst for Hill and Associates, a management consulting group based in Annapolis, pointed out that clean-coal technology in the form of scrubbers is being installed on older coal-fired electric generating plants in West Virginia. It will allow those plants to use more of the sulfur coal found in the northern part of the state where reserves are much more extensive. Previously, he said those plants could only use the less sulfurous coal found in the southern part of the state where reserves are being depleted. With the use of scrubbers, the northern Appalachian mines of the state will be able to expand market opportunities and production, Truman said.
 
Haney said since his expertise is in transmission, rather than marketing, he could not answer whether the expansion would increase consumer electric costs for West Virginians.
 
“It will probably equalize costs but not to the lowest that consumers currently pay, but we are looking at it as an incentive to add new power plants,” he said.
 
Consumers in West Virginia average electric costs of from $50 to $100 a month while in the Washington and surrounding Maryland area, consumer prices range from $170 to $500 or more, Haney said.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/a...

MAR 3 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1522-transmission-line-a-huge-investment-but-provides-opportunity-course-of-allegheny-s-1-4-billion-proposal-includes-mount-storm
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