PATH Going Down

Here is the link to PJM’s announcement dated February 28, 2011.

As part of its 2011 RTEP, and in response to a request by a Virginia Hearing Examiner, PJM is conducting a series of analyses using the most current economic forecasts and Demand Response commitments, as well as potential new generation resources. Preliminary analysis reveals the expected reliability violations that necessitated PATH have moved several years into the future.

Based on these latest results, the Board has decided to hold the PATH project in abeyance in its 2011 RTEP. The Board further directs the sponsoring Transmission Owners to suspend current development efforts on the PATH project, subject to those activities necessary to maintain the project in its current state, while PJM conducts more rigorous analysis of the potential need for PATH as part of its continuing RTEP process. This action, however, does not, at this time, constitute a directive by PJM to the sponsoring Transmission Owners to cancel or abandon the PATH project.

PJM will complete this more rigorous analysis of the PATH project and other transmission requirements and then report the results to stakeholders when it is available. The Board will review this comprehensive analysis as part of its consideration of the 2011 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.

Note that PJM is not calling for a cancellation of PATH — yet.  It is clear that the analysis that the VA SCC required PJM to perform is not going to bring good news for AEP/FirstEnergy.

It is quite likely, however, that holding PATH “in abeyance” means that PJM is not going to specify a new required in service date for PATH in the 2011 RTEP.  The old in service date will go from June 2015 to “well, maybe sometime, but then again maybe never.”

So, if PJM is not willing to set a definite in service date for PATH, what does that mean for AEP/FirstEnergy’s applications in MD, WV and East Virginia?  If PJM is no longer “requiring” PATH, is there any there there?