(08/16/2012)
The History of grass-roots opposition to the not needed project follows Ken Ward's story.

PATH Power Line Appears To Be Dead

By Ken Ward Jr.
wvgazette.com

CHARLESTON - The PATH power line is expected to be dealt a death blow later this month, when the regional electrical grid managers at PJM Interconnection recommend that the $2 billion project is no longer needed.

Applications for the PATH transmission line had been withdrawn more than a year ago, after staff at PJM and the West Virginia Public Service Commission questioned the project.

On Wednesday, PJM revealed that its staff would recommend that PATH and another project, the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, or MAPP, be removed from the region's long-term transmission infrastructure improvement plans.

PJM staff will make their recommendation Thursday at a committee meeting and then Aug. 24 to the full board of PJM, a private agency that runs the regional grid.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Valley Forge, Pa.-based PJM cited reductions in the projected growth in electrical demand, driven by a slow economy, and the additional new generation capacity as factors that eliminated the need for the new transmission lines.

Last year, a separate PJM analysis showed a diminished need for the projects, but the agency decided to wait on a new forecast of peak electrical use, among other factors, before making a final decision.

American Electric Power and FirstEnergy had been promoting the 765 kilovolt Potomac Appalachian Highline, or PATH, which would start at the John Amos power plant in Putnam County and run more than 275 miles into Maryland. The MAPP project is a 152-mile transmission line to connect southern Maryland with the Delmarva Peninsula.

"Of course, the PATH project has been in suspension for about a year and a half now, because PJM's evaluations have been showing less of a need for it because of the slowing economy and other factors," said AEP spokeswoman Jeri Matheney. "This final evaluation indicating there is no need for the project for the next 15 years comes as no surprise to us, and accordingly, we will close the project"

Power company officials had argued that PATH was needed to shore up the nation's ailing electrical grid and, as proposed, "minimizes the effect on the natural and human environment."

The project faced strong opposition, though, in part because the PSC approval would allow the power company to use eminent domain to obtain rights of way from landowners. Critics argued that PATH, like the already approved TrAIL power line, was little more than a huge extension cord to allow more pollution-causing coal-fired power to be sent from Appalachia and the Ohio Valley to East Coast population centers.

Increasingly, PATH opponents also cited new data that questioned the need for the project. Last year, the PSC's staff joined in doing so, arguing it was "ludicrous" for the commission to even hold hearings on PATH without first fully examining other options, such as improving existing transmission lines.

In a new analysis released Wednesday, PJM said all previously identified thermal overloads that PATH was aimed to fix have already been resolved, and that no other overloads on its 500 kilovolt facilities were expected between 2013 and 2027.

A HISTORY OF OPPOSITION

Citizen activism has killed the PATH project, a project based on a false need and a project that certainly did not bode well for West Virginians, with Calhoun's Bill Howley long-leading one of the citizen's movement calhounpowerline.com

Here is some history of that activism reported early on by the Hur Herald:

NEW $2 BILLION ELECTRIC GRID NO LONGER NEEDED - PATH Project Almost Dead

DID ELECTRIC RATEPAYERS GIVE BLANK CHECK TO ENERGY OUTFITS - Feds Investigating "Grass Roots" Complaint

ONE YEAR AGO: PATH POWER LINE PROJECT COMES TO A HALT - Citizen Activism Stopped Project

PATH PROJECT SEEKING DELAY IN CONSTRUCTION - Project Would Increase Pollution, West Virginians Would Bear Some Costs, Seventy Calhoun Properties Affected

PATH DEVELOPERS ADMIT ELECTRIC POWER DEMANDS BELOW ESTIMATES - Project Slowed Down, WV-PSC Opposing Project

MAKING SENSE: PATH POWER LINE OPPOSITION MORE THAN 'NOT IN MY BACK YARD'

ELECTRICITY DEMAND IS DOWN - AEP Layoffs Set, PATH Overstepping Market

NEW STUDIES QUESTION NEED FOR PATH POWER LINE - Project "Extension Cord For Pollution-Causing Coal-Fired Power Plants

GOLIATH PATH ELECTRIC PROJECT IS DEAD FOR NOW

NEW LEGISLATION GIVES HELP TO LANDOWNERS FACED WITH POWER LINE CONSTRUCTION

PATH POWER LINE NOT A "DONE DEAL"

PATH COMPANIES HAVE WRONGLY CHARGED OVER $3 MILLION TO RATEPAYERS, SAYS COMPLAINT - Calhoun's Haverty Says Money Used For "Propaganda Program"

TWO HUNDRED BRAXTON-CALHOUN RESIDENTS BLAST PATH POWER LINE PROJECT - Residents Speak Out At Flatwoods Hearing

PATH ELECTRIC PROJECT WILL KILL NATURAL GAS - PATH Loaded Gun At Calhoun County's Leading Industry

GOLIATH PATH POWER-LINE WILL TAKE SWATHE - Calhoun Homesteads Cut In Two

COMMISSION RESOLUTION OPPOSES HIGH VOLTAGE LINE ACROSS COUNTY

BIG POWER LINE WILL CROSS CALHOUN

WILL GIANT ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINE COME THROUGH CALHOUN?


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