Friday, December 19, 2014

FERC Didn't Rubberstamp a Transmission Line

Holy Moeller Batman!

FERC didn't rubberstamp a transmission project!

Shocking.  There's a first time for everything.  For those in Northern Illinois, you might remember all those lines that were being proposed.  One was the RITELine.  It was a 756KV partnership between ComeEd and AEP.  Looks like FERC didn't like the fact that RITELine didn't obtain approval from PJM in their longterm grid planning.  While there was a reference to MISO planning, FERC felt that PJM being the recipient would be a a more reliable source.

Not sure if this makes the RITELine project dead our just a setback.  Then again, maybe this is a part of ComEd's master plan to destroy the gravy train for wind corporations.  I'd like to think they are that diabolical, but doubt it.  They do have the best lawyers in the business and historically do not chase "easy" transmission money....naugh this is just a conspiracy theory.  They wouldn't sabotage the wind/transmission gravy train. 

What is most interesting is the minority statement by FERC Commissioner Phillip Moeller.  Apparently he didn't get the memo that FERC might be swinging a new direction.  Perhaps with John Norris gone to be Ag Ambassador to Rome and Jon Wellinghoff retired, Moeller finds himself in a lonesome minority.

Here's Moeller's statement.  

 “In my initial dissent in this proceeding, I observed that “[n]ow is not the time for this Commission to begin retreating from its incentive policy on needed transmission lines.” And today, if we are going to produce less carbon dioxide when generating electricity, we’ll need more transmission lines to move cleaner sources of power to those who need it. In particular, because RITELine will allow power to move from the west to the east, this project can help nuclear and wind power move from the west, where it is produced, to the east, where it is needed.

“This action thus sets up a collision between two federal agencies that regulate the energy industry. That is, while the Environmental Protection Agency is moving to limit carbon dioxide, which will require more transmission lines, this Commission is changing its policies on transmission incentives in a manner that actually discourages the very transmission that will be needed to satisfy EPA requirements.

“In reducing the usual incentive from 150 to 100 basis points, the Commission makes a significant policy change without justification for that change.”

And that's why people believe FERC needs to be castrated.  It's not FERC's job to be the advocate of transmission companies.  It's not FERC's job to make Public Policy Legislation.  It's not FERC's job to be the hand-maiden of the E.P.A.  It's apparent, like John Norris, Phillip Moeller has a bias towards wind corporations.

There is no reason why nuclear generation cannot be done in eastern states.  There is no reason why Atlantic states can't develop offshore wind generation.   American doesn't need thousands of miles of new transmission to pander to the wind corporations.

With FERC commissioners like Phillip Moeller, why have federal oversiting (misspell intended)?

FERC's job isn't to be a siting partner for transmission.  FERC's job is to oversight the industry.  When there are commissioners like Moeller, who is representing the public at FERC? There is no ratepayer advocate at FERC. 

Hopefully, the Cheryl LaFleur/Norman Bay era of FERC makes some changes towards consumer protection against unneeded transmission.  This is a good start. 

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