MAPP, Offshore Wind, and Happy New Year

Welcome to The Power Line’s third PATH-free New Year.

A couple of New Year’s tidbits have popped up in the last few weeks.

First, the MAPP transmission line case is about to start up again at the MD PSC.  Remember MAPP, PEPCO’s eastern shore boondoggle?  Citizens fought back and even PJM had to eliminate the original Delaware chunk of the line.  Well, PEPCO has hacked away at the line, and they think they have something that can slide by the PSC in MD.

The MAPP case was only suspended in 2009, so there is a hearing on Jan. 6, 2011 to begin figuring out how to set up a new procedural schedule.  I have not been following the case, but here is a recent letter filed by the MD Office of People’s Counsel in response to PEPCO’s attempt to create a fast tracked PSC schedule for MAPP.  If you want to find out what is going on with the MAPP case, you can look up its case number, 9179, on the MD PSC Web site.

The East Coast offshore backbone project is moving through its next steps at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Those steps involve trying to get — yup, you guessed it — a guaranteed profit rate under FERC’s cost recovery and incentive process.  I feel a lot better about this project, but after seeing how FERC fails to police power company cheating on its own rules, it is hard for me to get enthusiastic about it, even with a project I support.  Does Google really need PJM rate payers to give it super high profits for anything?

The backbone investors got the Brattle Group, a standard power industry consulting group, to do a study about how wonderful their project is.  This report has been submitted to FERC as part of their incentive rate case.  The link will take you to the executive summary of the report, where you can see a pretty good outline of what the offshore backbone is projected to do for the PJM region.  These consulting firms are paid to make projects look good, so take this all with a grain of salt.  The Brattle Group once did a study saying that PJM’s planning process was just great.

We have received no news from the WV PSC on the staff’s motion to dismiss.  Intervenors need to be ready to file evidence by the January 25, 2011 deadline at the WV PSC.