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Utility board committee recommends to kill project  

Credit:  By AMANDA HARRISON, Staff writer | www.somdnews.com 8 August 2012 ~~

The PJM Interconnection Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee issued a recommendation Wednesday to cancel the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway project after the release of the 2012 Transmission Analysis final results.

MAPP would bring electric transmission lines across Southern Maryland as they connect Virginia and Delaware. The project was designed to correct electricity transmission problems propjected in earlier estimates.

The PJM Interconnection board of managers will meet Aug. 24 to make a final decision on the recommendation.

“We have to wait for the board to make its decision before we can make any statements about what we’ll do,” said Robert Jubic, MAPP project manager.

“If the board directs it to continue, then we’ll continue,” he said. “We’ll follow the board.

“There’s not much I can say about it right now. We just want to get the information out to the people who have interest in the project.”

PJM is a regional transmission organization that oversees electric power supplies in the mid-Atlantic region, helping coordinate power supply issues among states.

The transmission analysis, which looks at which power generation plants might need to discontinue operations due to an inability to meet financial and environmental standards and the public policy that considers the integration of renewable energy into transmission project plans, revealed “factors such as lower load growth from the sluggish economy, the installation of new gas fired power plants, and the increase in demand response programs” indicate “no reliability violations were identified within the transmission planning window,” according to an email from Jubic on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t look good,” Steve Zimmerman, a representative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said about the recommendation. “It’s strange because transmission problems are just continuing and continuing.”

Zimmerman said he’s put a lot of time and effort into fighting for the project and that “[the union was] counting on it. … [The union was] looking forward to helping them.”

In February, MAPP, a Pepco and Delmarva Power project, was put in abeyance, and PJM pushed back the projected in-service date from 2014 to 2019-21 due to a drop in anticipated demand as a result of slow economic recovery.

The project would be the second largest of its kind in the world behind a German project, MAPP officials have said. MAPP was deemed necessary by PJM Interconnection to relieve higher prices associated with transmission line congestion and for improving reliability. The project would allow power to travel in either direction depending on where it is needed on the grid.

The proposed $1.2 billion project would run through Charles and Calvert counties and would span a total of 152 miles from Virginia to Delaware. The project includes two new converter stations in Port Republic and may harness offshore wind if a turbine project is built.

The two proposed converter stations in Port Republic are to be built on 14 to 18 acres along with a 16-acre switching station in the Parkers Creek watershed, which is protected by the American Chestnut Land Trust. The converter stations are proposed to be 55,000 square feet and 65 feet high.

Parkers Creek was the preferred location out of 30 sites considered because it required minimum disturbance and is located along an existing right of way, project officials say.

Karen Edgecombe, executive director of the American Chestnut Land Trust, said the “ACLT is certainly pleased to hear the project is hopefully going to be canceled.”

“At this point it’s just a recommendation, so we’ll just wait and see what happens. But it’s a good development,” she said.

The transmission line would run from Possum Point, Va., to Chalk Point in Charles County to the Calvert converter stations and then travel under the Chesapeake Bay to Dorchester County.

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and several citizen groups filed to intervene unless Pepco chooses another area for the converters.

Commissioner Susan Shaw (R) was “surprised it was postponed because we’re all using more electricity,” and “they had said before it was necessary.”

“We never wanted them to put it where they wanted to put it,” she said, adding that “it makes me wonder what that says about the economy.”

The Maryland Public Service Commission has yet to approve the project.

Source:  By AMANDA HARRISON, Staff writer | www.somdnews.com 8 August 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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