A federal judge has thrown out the challenge by citizens groups to former Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar’s backroom deal to ramrod the Susquehanna-Roseland HV transmission line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This was the last hurdle for power companies PSEG and PPL, and PSEG starts work on the transmission line next week.
The Susquehanna-Roseland line was approved by the PA PUC and the NJ BPU (the two states’ public utility commissions) in 2010, before evidence in the PATH case showed clearly that PJM Interconnection had no basis for asserting that the lines were needed for maintaining system reliability. The S-R line was conceived as one of the four Project Mountaineer lines designed to push low priced coal fired power from the Ohio River Valley to the East Coast. Two of those lines, MAPP and PATH were withdrawn by PJM when it became clear that they were not needed.
The same factors, namely long term demand declines and much cheaper alternatives, undercut the need for the S-R line. However, once a state PUC approves a project, there is no mechanism for stopping it, regardless of what happens later.
So the Susquehanna-Roseland line, probably now completely unnecessary, will be built. And all rate payers in PJM’s region will pay for this white elephant.