Good Opinion Piece on MAPP

Here is a link to an opinion piece that appeared in Delmarva Now recently.

Author Karen Lukacs, executive director of the Wicomico Environmental Trust, gets it exactly right when she says:

PJM and Pepco insist that the new line is needed to increase the reliability of electricity delivery to the Eastern Shore. This assertion is based on earlier projections of an increase in demand for electricity — which have not materialized — and an analysis suggesting that some lines will fail by 2024. These potentially failing lines can be fixed for $1 million or less.

PJM and Pepco suggest that the cost of the new line will not cause an increase in rates consumers pay for electricity, because production costs will go down and the $1.2 billion price tag will be shared by all consumers in its thirteen-state region. In fact, PJM has nothing to do with production costs (it is a power transmission “grid” and does not produce power). Further, consumers will lose an invisible “congestion rebate” passed onto them when use is high. It’s hard to imagine how the 20 percent per year ratepayers must absorb — $240 million — won’t show up in our electric bills.

This is all before we consider the extensive environmental disruption and potential damage to the Chesapeake Bay, the Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers and the location of the proposed 12-acre, six-story converter station on currently undeveloped land in Wicomico County near rural Mardela Springs.

Further, the MAPP line is designed to bring more power from west to east. West is where coal is mined and burned, sending air pollution eastward.

What could $1.2 billion get us? Imagine if this amount of money were invested in the development of local biofuels, solar or wind energy instead.

The bottom line is that the MAPP project is not needed, will cost the county taxpayers money, and will defile our natural landscape. Wicomico County citizens should ask their County Council representatives why this project has been endorsed and what the county will get out of it.

All of this sounds very familiar to us here in WV.  Except that the Wicomico County Council has apparently supported the MAPP monstrosity.  County Commissions across WV stood up and opposed PATH, despite Gov. Manchin’s attempt to buy them off with a phony power line “tax.”

Note also Ms. Lukacs’ reference to how much less expensive it would be to simply rebuild existing high voltage lines in the region to eliminate the NERC violations that PJM and Pepco are claiming only MAPP can fix.  The example of the failed PATH project provides excellent lessons about the wisdom of rebuilding existing lines.  Only FERC’s ill-considered “incentive” profits provide any justification at all for new lines — and that justification only benefits power company shareholders, not electricity users.