The reporter seems to rely on energy platitudes, pasted together with quotes from people who should have been asked about the conclusions the reporter made.
Opponents used some of those arguments to successfully derail the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, a 290-mile line from Putnam County, W.Va., to Frederick County, Md., proposed by Allegheny Energy in 2008. The Greensburg company, acquired by FirstEnergy in 2011, suspended the project after it could not convince regulators the line was necessary.
PJM staff reviewed results of analyses showing reliability drivers no longer exist for the project throughout the 15-year planning cycle. The analyses incorporated the continued trends of decreasing customer load growth, increasing participation in demand response programs and the recent commitment of new generating capacity in eastern PJM.
While citizen groups have fought transmission projects — often successfully — by attacking the developer’s need to build them, the environmental regulations could usher in more projects and complicate opposition.
Changing drivers of transmission
It's still about need though. And the transmission poster child the reporter chose to use is not part of any regional transmission plan and therefore has not been designated "needed."
Transmission companies see big potential for new projects, particularly from sparsely populated areas that generate wind energy to urban areas. “Just as trains carried cattle and other goods from the rural areas to urban centers, the Plains & Eastern Clean Line will carry renewable energy from the Plains of the Southwest,” states the website of one developer, Clean Line Energy of Houston, Texas.
Clean Line expects federal approval for its 700-mile Plains & Eastern Clean Line, designed to carry 4,000 megawatts of power from wind farms in the panhandle of Oklahoma. The line will terminate near Memphis, Tenn. Clean Line has four other projects in the pipeline.
“We anticipate a very busy 2016,” said company president Michael Skelly.
I do hope Mr. Skelly is very busy in 2016... polishing up his resume and looking for new investors for his next get rich quick scheme.
The reporter longs for
...some wind mills and solar farms in areas with constant breeze and abundant sunshine
There's an area with "a constant breeze" located much closer to Pittsburgh than the Great Plains. It's called the Atlantic Ocean, where wind potential is much greater. Best of all, very little "tangled mess of hulking, long-range transmission lines" would be "necessary to bring that renewable power from the point of generation to utilities for local distribution."
Why can't eastern states boost their own economies by harvesting renewables close to load? The days of centralized generation are over. Also, sunshine is abundant anywhere -- no transmission lines needed to slap some solar panels on your own roof.
This reporter needs some education.
1. Transmission opposition by "citizens groups" won't change because of the Clean Power Plan.
2. Speculative transmission projects for which there is no need shall not be granted state eminent domain authority to take property for rights of way.
3. Clean Line is a merchant transmission project, not part of any transmission plan and completely unlike most other transmission projects. Therefore, it should not be lumped in with them or used as an example of anything transmission-related. If the CPP requires transmission, it will be planned and ordered by regional transmission organizations so that there is some surety that it will actually be built. Clean Line is not needed, may never be built, and is driven by anticipated profits selling energy into more expensive markets, not by the Clean Power Plan.
And stop drinking the big wind koolaid. There are no facts in it.