Since the Preliminary Challenge to PATH's 2009 ATRR was filed, I've been contacted by a plethora of interesting people.  Yesterday, I was contacted by one of the partners of Electric Pipeline Corporation.  It seems that he's been trying to make some headway with at least one of the major energy companies who is planning to embark on a "national grid" (also unneeded and they intend to make us pay for it, but that's another story).  Electric Pipeline Corporation believes they have come up with an effective way to underground extremely high-voltage transmission lines, Elpipes, but the power companies are loyal to their beloved, horse-and-buggy, overhead transmission lines.

Not that undergrounding PATH would make any difference, since we all know PATH isn't really needed at all.  Why would a certain power company rather fight horrendously expensive and painful battles with opposition groups than contemplate underground transmission?  We know they lie when they tell us, "the technology to underground the lines is not available".  Elpipes proves it.  It just costs more.  However, once you figure in the cost of 16 years (in the case of Jacksons Ferry-Wyoming) of opposition, what's really more expensive?  And what do they care anyhow, it's our money they're spending.  Could it be because a big price tag up front may cause some consternation from those forced to pay for it without receiving any benefit?  Take a look at the financial statements that go along with a transmission line project and you'll probably find it ends up costing the same, when you figure in what opposition costs vs. the extra material costs of undergrounding, however opposition is a by-product expense that they neglect to mention.

Logic and brainpower:  sorely lacking at the corporate headquarters of a common "friend" of both the PATH opponents and Elpipes.

Anyone else find the picture at the top of the Elpipes brochure frightening?  That's a 765kV line in relation to a house, in case you were wondering what PATH would look like in your backyard.  Anyone else remember the 1981 film Neighbors that was set on a suburban street with gigantic overhead transmission lines running through the backyard?  Love that film, but don't want to live it! 
 


Comments

12/17/2010 4:45am

For all you power line nerds out there, the Elpipe brochure is an interesting read. There are all kinds of little facts that will enlighten you even more about your favorite subject. Like 0 the main thing limiting the diameter of transmission line cables is the fact that they have to be wound up on a spool to be transported. And that 50^ of the costs of DC transmission lines derives from the converter stations that are required to convert back to AC.

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12/17/2010 4:54am

Sorry for the typos in the previous comment. The print in the comment box runs past my right margin, so I can't proofread my comments. That should be 50 percent not 50^ and I don't know where that random "0" came from.

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Keryn
12/17/2010 11:43am

What browser are you using? I haven't heard any complaints about the comment box running into the margin. The one I'm typing in is actually quite small.

Like I have time to mess around with compatibility issues.... but still...

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Roger
12/19/2010 9:34am

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Roger
12/19/2010 10:16am

I sent Keryn the article she posted, though I have not figured out how to view it on this website. I have been advocating for a continental-scale grid, based on underground "elpipes" since 1991, but I decided to make a business venture out of this only in 2009. I have hit a wall of resistance, even though it seems clear that the industry needs some form of long distance underground technology such as elpipes, HTS (high temperature superconductors) or GIL (gas insulated lines). Cables are too expensive to form the basis of a continental scale grid. Overhead lines are too intrusive, and engender local opposition.

My vision is not totally in harmony with yours, but we have a common purpose to some extent. PATH is the worst kind of powerline, designed to deliver "coal by wire" to NJ. It should be stopped. But do not throw out the baby with the bath water; as a nation we need a dramatic increase in long distance transmission to allow the movement of our energy economy away from fossil fuels.

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Keryn
12/19/2010 11:21am

Perhaps we're a bit jaded, but there is tremendous opportunity for the fossil fuel fans to use a national grid for more of the same -- transportation of coal-by-wire at the expense of cleaner power.

And then there's the issue of cost allocation. For some reason the ratepayers are increasingly left holding the bag while the energy companies have nothing out-of-pocket and rake in usurious profit.

I'm definitely not "anti-technology", just anti-stupidity.

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JustMe
12/21/2010 8:34pm

Come back Roger. I want to hear more, but please provide links. How does your Elpipe work with local microgrid expansion ideas? Does it permit resale of power production from consumers back to the grid? Can it be laid via railroads, rivers and highways like HVDC? How does it compare with HVDC? Can it work with off-shore wind? Can it incorporate communications technology to connect with national plans for internet supply to remote service areas? What type of corporate partners are you seeking? Are you committed to "Buy American"? What is your vision for North America (CA-US-MX)? IM just curious (call me sponge-Bob)-- want more info. We here in PJM-land are skeptical - yes, but lets have more facts. Give an example of how you would incorporate your technology given the Mid-Atlantic issues of 1) Preserving the Chesapeake Bay watershed by minimizing impact; 2) Ending mountaintop mining; 3) Protecting National Security in the most sensitive and vulnerable area of the Nation; and 4)Providing new opportunities to retool the mining industry into a national interest industry? I am very curious.

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Keryn
12/22/2010 8:33pm

Would you like Roger's email or phone number, JM? I can help you out. I think Roger would love to hear from you.

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Edward
04/25/2012 7:41pm

People are right when they say itll be more expensive. And if you ever convince power companies to do this underground transmission lines theyll just up you rates. What many people dont know that even to maintain underground is much more expensive to maintain. There already are underground lines mostly in cities and they produce way more problems than overhead lines. Not to mention If something goes wrong underground expect your lights not to come on for a long while. Its simply much more complicated and takes a lot more time to find problems. Double it if you compare to overhead problems.

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