First Reports from March 17 East Virginia SCC Hearing — WV HCR 149 Is Right

I was not able to listen to the East Virginia SCC hearing yesterday, but I have gotten first hand reports from people who attended.

Of course, AEP/FE lawyers resisted any suggestion that PJM had to produce the fair and honest comparison between PATH and Alternative One that Hearing Examiner Skirpan ordered in January.

Power company lawyers instead claimed that slide 16 from the March 10, 2011 report to PJM’s TEAC committee was a good substitute.  That simply wasn’t true, because there is no comparison to Alternative One on that slide, but the slide does reveal some interesting information that supports everything we have been saying here on The Power Line for the last few months.

Here is a link to the entire March 10 TEAC Power Point.

Here is slide 16 –

This table shows where the first thermal violations occur using PJM’s “base case” (without PATH) based on its computer models of future emergency power transfers on its system.  The Base Case plus Warren means that PJM has added the generation capacity of Dominion’s new gas-fired power plant to its base case scenario.

As you can see, the thermal violations, even without PATH, have been pushed off into the 2020s.

The important thing to note here is that the table was prepared without taking into account the rebuilding of Dominion’s Mt. Storm-Doubs line which is on the way to being built.

Note also that PJM states that if the Mt. Storm-Doubs rebuild is included in the analysis, the next limiting violations occur on FirstEnergy’s Pruntytown to Mt. Storm line.  This is a tacit admission that if Dominion’s Alternative One is pursued, the need for PATH disappears completely.  Even the construction and operation of the Warren natural gas plant will eliminate most of the problems on Pruntytown-Mt. Storm.

PJM’s pro-PATH engineers are trying to introduce new elements into their “planning” to allow them to rig the game again, now that their NERC violations game is no longer working.

PJM is starting to introduce new assumptions into its “sensitivity analysis” as shown in the additional columns on the right.  PJM’s own load projections are falling, so they are now introducing projections from an outside source, Global Insight, that project higher loads.  There can only be one reason why PJM is adding the Global Insight numbers — they show an earlier need for PATH.

PJM’s other little trick is to include new assumptions about renewable portfolio standards (the RPS on the table headings) in their analysis.  There is no information in the slide show about where these assumptions come from, but it is clear from the earlier PATH start dates that this NPS calculation involves importation of land based wind power from the Midwest, including AEP’s Texas wind farms.  Unless we see the PJM assumptions about projected East Coast renewable energy production, from home based solar, offshore wind, etc., there is no way to tell whether PJM’s RPS numbers are rigged to show a need for PATH or whether they are reasonable.

The one thing that PJM’s analysis clearly shows is that the WV Legislature was correct to urge the WV PSC to order the rebuilding of Pruntytown to Mt. Storm when it comes up for review in the next year.  If the PSC follows the Legislature’s directive in HCR 149, not only will WV’s transmission system be upgraded, but the whole regional system will be made stronger.  Without PATH.