On July 12, the same ten east coast governors sent another letter to the Majority and Minority Leaders in the Senate telling them that the East Coast does not need new transmission lines to bring power from the Midwest. Here is a link to the full letter.
While the governors focus on the misguided provisions of SB1462 which expand federal power, mainly through FERC, to force new power lines down the throats of rate payers, the governors make a clear statement about the impact of new transmission projects.
The build-out of the national transmission corridor implicit in S. 1462 is estimated to cost at least $160 billion, the majority of which would be paid for by East Coast states, costing our ratepayers hundreds of dollars per year. In its current form, this legislation would harm regional efforts to promote local renewable energy generation, require our ratepayers to bear an unfair economic burden, unnecessarily usurp states’ current authority on resource planning and transmission line certification and siting, and hamper efforts to create clean energy jobs in our states.
Fundamentally, we fail to see the value in reorganizing existing state and federal markets and authorities. In our regions, we are currently on track to meet, and in some cases exceed, state or potential federal renewable energy standards well into the future. Therefore, federal integrated resource planning or siting preemption simply is not needed. Several of our states already have significant land-based wind projects installed or underway and have established aggressive wind development goals. Moreover, according to DOE”s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the offshore wind energy potential off the Atlantic coast is estimated to be 620,000 megawatts, enough generation to meet the region’s total electricity demand.
If you read The Power Line regularly, you have seen every single one of these points on these pages over the past two years.
The governors go on to chide Senate leaders and FERC for not supporting distributed generation, offshore wind power development and the integration of new sources of local generation into regional transmission organizations like PJM Interconnection.
Note also that the governors of Maryland and Virginia signed this letter. Both of these states’ public utilities commissions have given PATH a very rough time so far. Note also the absence of Gov. Manchin’s name on the letter. Once again, West Virginia finds itself without real leadership on energy issues.