Article

Pa.-to-Va. power line endorsed by electric grid operator

The $850 million power line, which would be built by two companies, is intended to relieve power congestion in northern Virginia and get electricity to customers as far north as New Jersey, said officials with grid-operator PJM Interconnection.

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The company that runs the mid-Atlantic power grid on Friday endorsed a proposed 240-mile power line from southwestern Pennsylvania's coal country to growing northern Virginia.

The $850 million power line, which would be built by two companies, is intended to relieve power congestion in northern Virginia and get electricity to customers as far north as New Jersey, said officials with grid-operator PJM Interconnection.

The two companies, Dominion Energy of Richmond, Va., and Allegheny Power of Greensburg, did not originally propose the 500-kilovolt line. Rather, a PJM planning group concluded in May that portions of two different power line proposals by the companies served the region's most immediate need and could be built in five years.

"We believe it's a very aggressive, but doable schedule," Audrey A. Zibelman, PJM's chief operating officer, said in a telephone interview.

Electricity customers between New Jersey and Washington, D.C., would foot the cost of the line, although the line is also expected to help lower the price of electricity in those areas, PJM officials said.

Valley Forge-based PJM is evaluating 10 other proposals for power lines in the region and will... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The company that runs the mid-Atlantic power grid on Friday endorsed a proposed 240-mile power line from southwestern Pennsylvania's coal country to growing northern Virginia.

The $850 million power line, which would be built by two companies, is intended to relieve power congestion in northern Virginia and get electricity to customers as far north as New Jersey, said officials with grid-operator PJM Interconnection.

The two companies, Dominion Energy of Richmond, Va., and Allegheny Power of Greensburg, did not originally propose the 500-kilovolt line. Rather, a PJM planning group concluded in May that portions of two different power line proposals by the companies served the region's most immediate need and could be built in five years.

"We believe it's a very aggressive, but doable schedule," Audrey A. Zibelman, PJM's chief operating officer, said in a telephone interview.

Electricity customers between New Jersey and Washington, D.C., would foot the cost of the line, although the line is also expected to help lower the price of electricity in those areas, PJM officials said.

Valley Forge-based PJM is evaluating 10 other proposals for power lines in the region and will conclude its assessments of them by end of the year, Zibelman said.

Like the Dominion-Allegheny power line, some of those other proposals revolve around bringing surplus electricity from large, coal-fired power plants in Appalachia and the Midwest to the densely populated eastern seaboard, where power is more expensive. Those proposals include ones by Pepco Holdings of Washington, D.C., and American Electric Power, of Columbus, Ohio.

While PJM has no regulatory authority over the power lines, the company's opinion carries weight with state utility regulators. The state regulators typically have approval authority over power lines, although the possibility now exists that federal authorities can override them.

Under an 11-month-old federal law, the U.S. Energy Department may designate certain transmission corridors as being in the national interest. That would let federal regulators use the power of eminent domain to trump states that would not otherwise allow a power line with a demonstrated interstate interest within their territory.

The power industry contends that new transmission lines are crucial to meeting increasing demand, particularly in fast-growing areas. Although some stretches of the Dominion-Allegheny line can run along existing power lines or highways, the project may be challenged by environmental advocates and nearby residents worried about the impact on the land.

One clean-energy advocate, John Hanger of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, said there are cheaper, more efficient alternatives to long power lines, such as energy conservation, offshore wind-turbines and building power plants closer to major demand centers.

"What I don't want to see is a rush to build power lines just because the federal government is greasing the skids," Hanger said.

The Dominion-Allegheny line would start about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, head southeast across a corner of western Maryland and West Virginia's heavily touristed eastern panhandle before ending in fast-growing Loudoun County, Va., on the edge of suburban Washington, D.C.

"Right now, it's nothing more than a concept and an idea, there's been no planning or line routing studies," Allegheny Power spokesman Allen Staggers said.


 


Source: http://www.sunherald.com/ml...

JUN 24 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3189-pa-to-va-power-line-endorsed-by-electric-grid-operator
back to top