Yesterday, attorneys for environmental groups, along with attorneys for the utilities and the BPU, presented arguments before a New Jersey Court of Appeals on the BPU's approval of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project.  The Court now has to decide whether to let the BPU's decision stand, or remand the case back to the BPU for further consideration or a whole new hearing.

I wonder what the BPU would do with the S-R line if it came back under their jurisdiction at this point in time?  I'm guessing it could get pretty interesting!

The article says that the arguments centered on whether S-R is still needed in light of lowered demand. 

"But neither PJM nor the BPU can rely on future events, attorney Marc Lasky told the judges in his arguments on behalf of PSE&G.

"PJM determined whether there was a need for some project to address reliability issues," he told the panel. "It was not PSE&G which decided on its own Roseland-Susquehanna was needed."

He said neither the regional operator nor the utility can "rely on wishes and hope. Does one put the reliability of the entire power grid at risk by wishes and hopes?"

PJM uses "wishes and hopes" to predict need for projects like S-R in the future, and how much of PJM's
"wishes and hopes" RTEP is based on old (or manufactured) data?  Would a new, honest evaluation show that other cheaper, faster solutions to any remaining violations may now be a more viable alternative to an increasingly expensive transmission over-build that relies on Project Mountaineer's 2005 "wishes and hopes" to increase the import of Ohio Valley coal-fired electric generation to the east coast by 5,000 MW?  The economic scenario upon which Project Mountaineer relied no longer exists.  Coal-fired generation is no longer "cheaper."  Are electric consumers in the PJM region truly being served by PJM's transmission planning process here?  I'm thinking not.

PSE&G probably thinks their project is "too big to fail" at this point in time.  After all, they have sprinkled over $70M of your money around to various groups and entities in order to silence any opposition to their project and grease certain strategic wheels. 

Here's a list of the publicly admitted "financial inducements" the utilities have agreed to pay to date:

$40M to The Nature Conservancy to perform "mitigation" in exchange for approval by the National Park Service of the destruction of The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and The Appalachian Trail.

$20M to the NJ Highlands Council in exchange for dropping their opposition to S-R.

A total somewhere in the neighborhood of $4M to various New Jersey towns for "mitigation" in exchange for the towns dropping their opposition to S-R.

$1.5M to the Montville Board of Education for "mitigation" of S-R's EMF on a school.

$1M to the Fredon School for "mitigation" of EMF at the school.

An "undisclosed amount" to the Saw Creek community in Pennsylvania in exchange for dropping their opposition to the project.

An unknown amount for strategic property purchases and other expenditures (estimated in the millions).

Totaling up just the known amounts, the utilities have already spent around $70M of their project's estimated $1B cost.  How much did the utilities budget for these kinds of "financial inducements" in their cost estimates?  When a cost estimate for S-R that includes this $70M of "inducements" is compared to other other alternatives, is S-R still the most cost effective solution?  What alternatives were even considered in the first place?

The cost of the S-R project, including all these "inducements," will be repaid to the utilities, along with a 12.9% yearly return, by the 60 million electric consumers in the 13-state PJM region.  The press persists in wrongly claiming that the utilities are paying these "inducements."  They're not.  The utility is merely "loaning" you the money for "your" transmission project now, and and will be well paid by you for doing so.  And the more they spend, the more they make!

But now, a court stands in their way.  They wouldn't be so bold as to try to "induce" a court, now would they?  I wonder how much something like that would cost?  Can someone contact John Grisham and let him know that we may have the plot of his next novel forming here?


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