PJM weighs factors for PATH project
American Electric Power and FirstEnergy Corp filed a motion Feb. 28 to withdraw the May 2009 joint application to construct the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline power line stretching from Putnam County across West Virginia and Virginia and into Maryland.
The move followed a recommendation by PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, to suspend the project indefinitely, citing an inability to establish evidence of potential need for the line.
According to Paula DuPont-Kidd, spokesperson for PJM, the company will continue to further analyze the transmission needs of the area. She said because of the results of a preliminary study, the need may have to reach further than expected.
“There are so many different factors that contribute to the need for a transmission line,” DuPont-Kidd said.
Some of the different factors include the addition of new generators to the system, as well as the deactivation of older generation stations.
Keryn Newman, who co-founded StopPATH WV, an opposition organization largely made up of local residents concerned with impact of the PATH project, celebrated the decision made by PJM.
“It’s vindicated everything we’ve been saying for the last two years,” she said. “For now, this is a huge victory for us.”
Patience Wait, also a co-founder of the group, explained that the decision made last week comes after a battle they began in August 2008.
According to Wait, the project would have originally impacted Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgon counties and included a route running directly through the subdivision she and Newman reside in, putting in jeopardy 16 out of 31 homes. Though the original projections for the project changed, the StopPATH group decided to continue its efforts.
In the wake of this newest development, she said the group still plans to watch the decisions being made as PJM reconsiders the project.
“We’re going to turn our attention to what’s going on at the federal level,” she said.
While DuPont-Kidd knows PJM might have made some enemies at the local level by proposing this project, she said her company has one job to do – make sure the transmission grid is reliable.
“It’s a matter of caring,” DuPont-Kidd said. “It’s a responsibility of ours.”
She said after analyzing the transmission needs of the area, the company will undergo what is called the “stakeholder process.” DuPont-Kidd said this means talking with those who have a say in if the line should be built. She said by the fall, based on the analysis and stakeholder results, PJM will make a presentation to its board.
For more information about PATH, visit www.pathtransmission.com/. For more information about StopPATH WV, visit www.stoppathwv.com.